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Flashcards in Secular Thinkers Deck (39):

Durkheim was not interested in the concept of God itself but instead...

He was interested in how religion in its many forms (including those without concept of God) functioned.


What was Durkheim called due to his interest in the workings of religion?

He was called a 'functionalist sociologist'.


What did Durkheim believe religion gave society?

Social cohesion, collective conscience, values and norms.


What was Durkheim's concept of collective consciousness?

Shared ideas that make social life possible.


For Durkheim, how is religion social?

Occurs in a social context and when people celebrate sacred things they unwittingly celebrate the power of society.


What is Durkheim's definition of sacred?

Holy and special; religion explains the sacred.


What is Durkheim's definition of profane?

Not holy, non-significant; science explains the profane.


What are the positives of Durkheim's view?

Shows a moral dimension to social relationships based on religious beliefs.


What are the negatives of Durkheim's view?

Marxist and feminist criticism; no 'dark side' to functionalist analysis, doesn't address religions leading to oppression, etc.


Marx saw religion as an aspect of what?

An aspect of ideology, rather than important in it's own right.


How did Marx believe that religion negatively affected the workers?

Religion was one way in which their alienation was alleviated, focused on rewards in the afterlife.


How did religion effect the bourgeoisie?

Religion acted as a cloak of respectability behind which they pursued profit at the expense of the workers.


What are the negatives of Marxism?

Dismisses the reality of sincere religious feelings that individuals experience, monocausal.


How would Marxists criticise the functionalist view?

Disagree that religion is a unifying force that strengthens the value and consensus of societies.


For Marx, where is the only place religion is a feature of?

Only of class-divided societies.


Under what condition did Marx argue that religion would disappear?

In a communist society, as the oppressive conditions would have disappeared (this is ideological as communist societies can still be oppressive).


What were Marx's views of God?

Did not actually produce philosophical arguments against God, but started on the idea that God is an anthropomorphic invention.


Possible responses to Marx's challenges?

Theory must be accepted on faith alone, monocausal, deterministic.


What were Freud's views on religion?

A stage of human development, 'universal obsessional neurosis', addresses fears about the world, neurotic illness from unconscious mind, repressed sexual memories, caused by childish needs for a father figure.


How did Freud's views challenge believers?

Suggested religion is an illusion, a 'sign of sickness rather than health'.


How might believers challenge Freud's theory?

Freud cannot justify Gods from non-Abrahamic religions, matriarchal religions, or religions without a God, such as Buddhism. It is reductionist.


What is one challenge to Freud's idea of the 'sick mind' of the religious person?

Religion may appeal to people with problems, but this does not deny the value of the religion. Rather, it shows why religion is needed.


What were Dawkins' views of religion?

Atheist, Darwinian evolutionist, against creationism.


How did Dawkins believe God effected society?

Do not need religion to be moral; roots of morality can have a Darwinian explanation; altruistic genes, selected in the EEA, gives people natural empathy.


How do Dawkins' views challenge believers?

Directly argues against Creationists.


What are some counter arguments to Dawkins' claims?

Religion answers the why, science answers the how. Not a true empiricist; instead he is a fundamentalist as is not open to any falsification.


How did Marx define God?

An 'anthropomorphic invention'.


What was the function of Marx's God?

A socially constructed illusion which imposes oppression through authoritative control.


What did Marx argue was the true governing force of the world?

It's economic, with whoever controls it being able to influence society.


What was Marx's concept of God?

A way to blur the truth, this God has little actual influence on society; it is only used as a tool for oppression.


How did Marx compare Protestant Christianity to Capitalism?

Both identify the possession of wealth as a positive sign of God.


What was the role of Marx's God?

Fear for uneducated and vulnerable people; through compliance with religious doctrines, authorities would be able to control the people.


How does Marx's concept of God help people cope in times of misery?

Gives future hope, but this can be a dangerous illusion, blinds people from the true evils of life.


What did Marx propose the role of God SHOULD be?

To help people stand up to this oppression.


How could this Marxist concept of a role of God; 'the more man puts into God, the less he keeps for himself', be interpreted both positively and negatively?

Positive: discourages capitalist values (profit and self-gain).
Negative: makes the oppressed give up what they have, worsening their position in society.


How are Marx's views influential?

In Christianity; reminded Christians about the evils of wealth and church's support for unjust decisions.
Also influenced liberation theology.


For Freud what are the 3 main roles of God?

1. Give comfort in times of suffering.
2. Provide a balance to the suffering.
3. Bring co-existence to the concepts of life and death.


For Freud, what is the purpose of worship?

To intensify neurosis and reduce vulnerability.


What gives strength to Freud's view?

Some link between religion and neurosis does exist, eg. the Christian tendency to repress sexual feelings.