(Original post by SensesFail)
The 9 marker worried me. I fear my points were too similar:
1) Cultural defence - using religion to preserve their native norms and values.
2) Socialising - using places of worship as points for socialising and feeling part of a community.
3) Theodicy of disprivilege - using religion as an emotional crutch when they may experience discrimination.
The 18 marker was okay - I feel like I had a lot to talk about.
> I started with the definitional and methodological issues with measuring religious belief and practice. From that I went into Bruce and his quantitative argument, saying membership isn't partial, it's just gone altogether.
> Then I think I went to Stark and Bainbridge and how religion is cyclical and may be experiencing a loss of commitment now but in the future it will thrive and this can be seen in fundamentalist religions.
> It's also seen in NRMs and I talked about Heelas and Woodhead and the move from the congregational domain to the holistic milieu. I said how sects and cults are usually quite short-lived though so lifelong membership is unlikely.
> Then, of course, Davie, saying believing without belonging and vicarious religion are taking over so religion is simply private and invisible.
> I quickly looked at the idea of choosing not to be lifelong members and how Marxists and feminists don't see religion as a choice and see it isntead as a ubiquitus force. I talked a bit about functionalists and phenomenologists see religion as necessary for society to function.
> Then I think I stopped their and concluded with postmodernism saying that religion is individualistic and as a meta-narrative its dead so people are just making sense of the world on their own.
I loved the 33 marker!
> Started off talking about Durkheim as a founding figure of sociology unsurprisingly writing about the social consequences of religion, thereofre providing an observation free of religious fervour contaminating it.
> I talked about Durkheim's views of worshipping the sacred was actually worshipping society but used Worsley and Mestrovic to criticise this and I said how its outdated and can't apply to contemporary society.
> I went on to neo-functionalists and said they provide a more contemporary view. I focussed on Bellah and his idea of civil religion and how it applies to multi-cultural societies like America. Then Parsons and Malinowski acknowledging the comforting effects of religion. I said how these theorists may still be seen as outdated but phenomenology, a much more contemporary theory, has echoes of functionalism in it.
> I said that functionalism fails to look at the conflict religion can cause, giving contemporary examples of the gay priest in St. Albans and fundamentalism reinforcing gender boundaries. I talked about Marxism and feminism and how religion legitimates class and gender inequality which functionalists ignore.
> I said that functionalism also ignores the idea of religion as a soure of social change, giving examples like the Saffron Revolution or Liberation Theology, showing how it isn't useful for religion today.
> I concluded saying that functionalism is just too outdated to be useful to understand religion today and even though phenomenology echoes functionalism it still isn't very central anymore. I finished with postmodernism rejecting any views of religion because, as a meta-narrative, it's irrelevant.