UPSC Sociology Mains Syllabus
Paper 1 – Chapter 8
Religion and Society:
(a) Sociological theories of religion.
(b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults.
(c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamentalism.
- Fundamentalism in strict sense of meaning describes an ideology of religious or other social groups which calls for adherence to literal meanings of sermons or scriptures or doctrines and apply them to all aspects of life.
- They strongly believe in one and only one true explanation.
- Whenever there are drastic changes in society and change of pace which disturbs community life, very often there is a loss of identity and rootlessness among people.
- In such situation people clutch any support for solace. Fundamentalism promises certitude and restitution of an earlier better age.
FEATURES OF FUNDAMENTALISM
- Fundamentalism stress on infallibility of a scripture (e.g. the Bible, Granths, the Gita or the Quran) in all matters & faith of Religion and doctrine. Second, fundamentalists assert that all aspects and areas of life are to be governed by the true, revealed religion as embodied in the original texts.
- It is opposed to reason and rationalism, humanism and secularism.
- According to T N Madan, fundamentalist movements are of a collective character. They are often led by charismatic leaders who are usually men
UNDERMINING OF RELIGION
- Modernisation has undermined religion in at least three ways:
Social life has become separated from religious life (linked to the process of differentiation).
Rationalisation means that people are more likely to seek scientific explanations for behaviour rather than religious explanations.
Steve Bruce argues that in certain societies ‘religious traditionalist’ feel as if their way of life is under threat, and so they take steps to defend their traditions against the erosive influence of modernisation.
- Revivalism can be seen in broader sense than fundamentalism.
- It simply means revival of religion – in any form be it institutional attendance as in church, growth of religious institutions and phenomenon like sects, cults, denominations, rise in individuals pursuing spiritual peace through personal motions of religion and finally, growth of fundamental ideas or fundamentalism.
- Religion has survived because of both individual and social functions that it performs and in words of Turner the secret of the survival of religion is ‘Religion is not a cognitive system, a set of dogmas alone, it is a meaningful experience’.