15.1 The Sociological Approach to Religion
List some ways that you see religion having social control in the everyday world.
What are some sacred items that you’re familiar with? Are there some objects, such as cups, candles, or clothing, that would be considered profane in normal settings but are considered sacred in special circumstances or when used in specific ways?
Consider a religion that you are familiar with and discuss some of its beliefs, behaviors, and norms. Discuss how these meet social needs. Then research a religion that you don’t know much about. Explain how its beliefs, behaviors, and norms are like/unlike the other religion.
15.2 World Religions
Consider the different types of religious organizations in America. What role did ecclesia play in the history of the United States? How have sects tended to change over time? What role do cults have today?
What is your understanding of monotheism versus polytheism? How might your ideology be an obstacle to understanding the theism of another religion you’re unfamiliar with?
In American society, do you believe there is social stratification that correlates with religious beliefs? What about within the practitioners of a given religion? Provide examples to illustrate your point.
15.3 Religion in the United States
Do you believe the United States is becoming more secularized or more fundamentalist? Comparing your generation to that of your parents or grandparents, what differences do you see in the relationship between religion and society? What would popular media have you believe is the state of religion in the United States today?