He laid emphasis on Magic and its types and functions. Most importantly, perhaps, the Protestant Reformation shattered the relative uniformity of religious thought and culture in Christian Europe. How is his story about that process consistent with the intellectualist approach to religion in general ? Unlike Max Muller, Herbert Spencer and Edward Tylor focused their attention on Religious behaviour of the primitives. willard trask. A religion is a shared system of beliefs and practices concerning sacred things that unites a community. Encyclopedia of Science and Religion. Although Durkheim relies on irremediably faulty ethnography and untenable assumptions about the simplicity of "primitive" societies, his interpretation of Australian religion well illustrates his general theory. london: athlone, 1954. leach, edmund. 3. These latter theories are known as intellectualist theories of religion, because both assume that the primitives are rational being, although their efforts to explain natural phenomena are somewhat crude. They criticized the Philological and Etymological approach to Religion. In Faces in the Clouds (1993) Guthrie adduces copious evidence to suggest a propensity in human nature to anthropomorphize the world. the meaning and end of religion (1962). Durkheim's functional explanation of religion arguably does include a feedback loop: The effects of religious rites (strengthened social bonds) maintain their cause (religion) precisely because social bonds produce religion. He claims that "religion is first and foremost a system of ideas by means of which individuals imagine the society of which they are members and the obscure yet intimate relations they have with it" (p. 227). Our mission is to provide an online platform to help students to discuss anything and everything about Essay. Examine the nexus between religion and politics of the state. They soon came to recognize this force as worthy of worship. This is in brief Tylor’s theory of Animism Critics hold that Tylor’s own thought was projected on to the primitives’ thought processes. Durkheim proposes to explain the persistence of religion (its "ever-present causes") despite the errors it contains (p. 7). The basic notion is the belief that any belonging of an individual, somehow represents a part of the person. Religion has … This idea of duality is extended by them to animals, plants and material object. False assumption because you can have synchronic religion because you can have animism and polytheism developing at the same time at different parts of the world, several different things are happening at the same time. Prevalent in biology, functional explanations explain something by its function, or what it does. This approach enjoys considerable advantages. Unlike Schleiermacher, James admits that religious beliefs can conflict with science, but religious beliefs are merely secondary interpretations of religious feeling. An evolutionary theory is the development of one species is the basis of their predecessor. Section 2. Religion, as a social fact, can help explain the individual's religious feelings better than the individual's religious feelings can explain religion. Rituals, meant to strengthen society's relationship to the sacred, strengthen society. In composing a "natural history" of religion, Hume brings religious phenomena within the purview of science. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list. Discuss the social significance of pilgrimages. Sir Edward Tylor’s theory of Animism considers both the origin and “development of Religion”. Only a standpoint that abstracts from contested religious criteria could resolve such a dispute. cambridge, uk: cambridge university press, 1984. feuerbach, ludwig. In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) he insists that the generative source of religion cannot simply be ignorance. Content Guidelines 2. The idea of Ghosts grows into the idea Gods and the Ghosts of ancestors become divine beings. Moments of what Durkheim calls "collective effervescence," when the social group physically gathers and the individual feels uplifted and fortified by the crowd, are especially powerful, Durkheim claims, in creating religious ideas and the sacred. Max Muller, a German linguist, propounded this theory. Explain the concept of Protestantism in the light of economic development. Society requires a periodic strengthening of the social bond through communal activity that reinforces collective feelings and ideas. The primitives do not, for good reasons, see the futility of Magic. The need to gain favor, on the other hand, leads to the obsequious pursuit of ever more exalted terms of praise (and abject means of self-abasement), culminating in iconoclasm, monotheism, and an insistence on mystery. In religion is that each stage is built on the other till monotheism. In the social sciences they explain an institution or behavior in terms of its unintended, beneficial effects. A French admirer of Hume's theory, Baron d'Holbach, coined the term anthropomorphism to capture the tendency Hume describes. Non-Western cultures, furthermore, did not have terms with anything like the same connotations or semantic scope. The need for familiarity and concrete, even sensible, representations of unknown causes explains idols, polytheism, and mythology. Some scholars have argued that Magic rather than Religion is the more primitive way of dealing with crises. (December 20, 2020). The term "theory" in science can mean something much different from a hunch, which is how the public generally uses the word.Many leading scientists consider the Theory of Evolution of plant and animal species as far more than a simple idea. The bloodshed caused by religious violence and the growing explanatory power of science led others to adopt a nonreligious stance to try to explain religion in nonreligious terms, often with the intention of hastening its supposed demise. 4. We have no means to know if this or something else is what was actually thought by the primitives. Therefore they believed that a greater stronger being was in control and caused these effects. This theory was superseded by the ghost theory and the soul theory. Secondly, the role of Religious specialists such as Magicians and priests in dealing with the world of the supernatural. In Religion Explained (2001), Pascal Boyer supplies a complementary cognitive theory that likewise characterizes religion as essentially concerned with person-like beings and explains it as a by-product of evolved mental dispositions. Anthropomorphizing the unknown causes not only renders them more familiar and comprehensible, but also furnishes the possibility of gaining their favor "by gifts and entreaties, by prayers and sacrifices" to control future events (p. 47). The growth of science need not, therefore, conflict with religion because beliefs and judgments are essentially foreign to religion. moscow: progress, 1957. muller, f. max. While allowing that religious beliefs can reflect social preoccupations, he rejects symbolic understandings of religion because the subjects of his fieldwork in Africa construe their religious beliefs literally. Elster, nevertheless, rightly criticizes the all too frequent assumption in social scientific theory that unintended beneficial effects provide sufficient explanation for their cause. He argues that societies with relatively stable patterns of social organization and relatively poor means of technological control draw on social analogies in constructing their theories because for them the social world represents predictability. 2. Taken literally, religion, like science, represents an attempt to explain, predict, and control the environment. the essence of christianity (1841), trans. ." Early human beings were unable to understand or explain the world of nature. As an adult, Freud considered himself an atheist, but his Jewish background and upbringing and background played an important role in the development of his ideas. This website includes study notes, research papers, essays, articles and other allied information submitted by visitors like YOU. The main distinction between Religion and Magic is as under: In the Religion one deals with a supernatural force by submitting to it through prayer, worship and Rituals. Hume's theory explains religion in intellectual terms: as an account of the unknown causes at work in the natural and social worlds. He distinguished between two types of Magic practiced by primitive people. Published by Experts, Essay on the Evolutionary and Functional Theories of Religion (719 Words), Essay on the Relation between Religion and Social Change (2407 Words), Short Essay on Sects, Cults and Denominations (284 Words), Essay on Evolutionism and its Roots (830 Words), Essay on Leadership: Introduction, Functions, Types, Features and Importance. Frazer argues that mankind realized that magic was not real and that they had were not creating results. Both the intellectualist and the myth-ritualist theory focus on primitive religion, but they regard modern religion as only a pale variant of it. Eugene d'Aquili and Andrew Newberg present another case where the distinction between humanistic and religious theories breaks down. Lang (1989:2) argued that the idea of God cannot have evolved out of reflections on dreams and “Ghosts”, because the two have entirely different origins. The attempt to safeguard religion from science by maintaining the primacy of feeling—the approach shared by Schleiermacher, Muller, Eliade, and James—runs aground on the fact that religious feelings are not in truth independent of, and prior to, religious beliefs. BIBLIOGRAPHY They possess superior powers and control destiny of human beings. Marett (1866-1943), another disciple of Tylor, criticized the animistic theory. It is further divided into intellectualist theories and emotionalist theories. Detractors have labeled both Marx and Freud pseudo-scientific. In premodern Europe, the known religious horizon consisted of (1) the mythology of ancient Greek and Roman pagans, (2) Jews, (3) Muslims, and (4) Christians. They gain this additional salience from their "aggregate relevance" to important social and moral processes. To try to explain religion through a theory of the person entirely misses the social dynamics creating this social fact. Skip to main content ... post-colonial, feminist, cross-cultural, religious/spiritual, intellectualist, narrative, identity, ritual, psychoanalytic, archetypal, attribution, attachment, process/stage, and Islamization theory. Intellectuals accept the fact that religion do exist and every individual in the universe is under one supreme being. Stewart Guthrie, on the contrary, adheres to Hume's anthropological approach. "magical hair." edition. Before proceeding to discuss the intellectualist theories, we should, however, take note of another very strong theory about the origin of religion. Sometimes they heedlessly suppose that the (putative) benefits maintain the beliefs or practices. cambridge, uk: cambridge university press, 1993. hume, david. The emergent theoretical study of religion had its inception in apologetics and polemics. Not everything that exists, of course, serves a beneficial purpose (some things work to the detriment of individuals and societies) and not everything that has beneficial effects exists for the sake of its effects. 4. The prevalence of the idea of Ghosts of ancestors or other superior beings becoming divinities among the primitives in many parts of the world, shows that Spencer’s theory has some plausibility. The comparative study of religion formed a central building block of anthropology as the discipline emerged in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. With the passage of time, the symbolic representations came to have an independent identity and became separated from that which they represented. These features, together with the all-encompassing nature of their theories and the reverence accorded to the founders and the founding texts, leads some critics to liken Marxism and psychoanalysis to religions. Examine the nexus between religion and politics of the state. Frazer saw some kind of a rationale behind Magic. Durkheim grossly overstates the gulf between the social and individual levels of explanation, and even violates his own methodological prescriptions when he appeals to individual psychology in his theory of religion. An enterprise fundamentally concerned with explanation, prediction, and control, religion, on Hume's view, directly competes with science. One should ground explanations of social facts in sociology, or a theory of society. stanford, calif.: stanford university press, 1956. james, william. The Reformation made possible a nonreligious position from which to reflect critically on religion, conceived as a general category identifying one aspect of human intellectual, emotional, and social life. journal of the royal anthropological institute 88 (1958): 147–164. So in a sense, Africa becomes a good place to look at how traditional religion adapts or responds to the coming in of monotheistic religion. Welcome to Shareyouressays.com! on religion. Indeed, the Qur'han itself carefully positions Jews and Christians in relation to Islam. The human beings and nature stand in a relationship of awe, wonder and terror etc. Dynamism was formulated as a theoretical alternative to other proposed theories on the origin of religion. In the modern West science has largely replaced the theoretical role for religion, granting communion greater prominence. cambridge, mass. Taking inspiration from Durkheim's injunction that "we must know how to reach beneath the symbol to grasp the reality it represents and that gives the symbol its true meaning" because the "most bizarre or barbarous rites and the strangest myths translate some human need and some aspect of life, whether social or individual," many twentieth-century scholars interpret religious beliefs primarily as symbolic expressions of existential concerns (p. 2). INTRODUCTION Anthropological theories of religion are diverse. the future of an illusion (1928), trans. In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Explain the concept of Protestantism in the light of economic development. Sometimes they naïvely assume that extant religious beliefs or practices must serve some beneficial purpose. In various ways "homo religiosus " builds different myths, rites, and beliefs out from the universal symbols. mark musa. in the interpretation of cultures. The individual depends on society for his or her well-being, yet society demands service from the individual and frequently requires that the individual set aside his or her own interests and inclinations. It assumes that if God exists then God must take a rather specific form, which few open-… Like Hume, they believe that religion derives from more fundamental human propensities and predispositions. Sigmund Freud is most famous for his psychoanalytic school of thought, but he also took a keen interest in religion. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. It is created for the scholar's analytic purposes by his imaginative acts of comparison and generalization. A well-developed cognitive predisposition to perceive agents will inevitably produce erroneous results. Religion came to be viewed as a discreet domain of culture, distinct from morality, and ranged alongside law, science, politics, and art. Hence when ever Magic fails, its failure is rationally explained as under: (i) The practitioner forgetting to perform some prescribed act, or, (ii) His ignoring to observe some prohibition, or. To explain an institution or behavior's presence by its effects, one must also identify a feedback loop "whereby the effect maintains its cause" (p. 32). new york: norton, 1975. geertz, clifford. Discuss its various elements. The Soul theory of Tylor has elements of the sacred and the supernatural. manuel, frank. Encyclopedia.com. "religion as a cultural system." The social discord in which the Reformation culminated made it necessary, furthermore, to privatize religion, to push it out of public affairs for the sake of peace. george eliot. Ideas about the origin and development of religion were initially based on the reports of missionaries and adventures about the nature of religion among the primitives. Religion, they contend, is a by-product of evolved cognitive biases. : harvard university press, 1959. marx, karl, and engels, frederick. london: routledge and kegan paul, 1966. douglas, mary. new haven, conn.: yale university press, 1987. proudfoot, wayne. new york: harcourt, 1959. elster, jon. Others, like Mary Douglas and Edmund Leach, who follow even more closely in Durkheim's footsteps, have documented rich correlations between social arrangements and religious representations. new york: arno press, 1978. penner, hans. This fact, he argues, helps explain the tendency of Western scholars to dismiss intellectualist explanations of religion. Despite this diversity, he claims, all particular religious phenomena coincide in "the belief of invisible, intelligent power" (p. 21). the eighteenth century confronts the gods. political system of highland burma. The death is a longer period of insensibility. 4. These latter are all universal, he claims, and have a "precise determinate object," whereas religion is not universal and is not uniform in its "ideas." religion explained: the evolutionary origins of religious thought. Later, Victorian anthropologists like Edward Tyler, James Frazer, and Herbert Spencer likewise adopt a fundamentally intellectualist explanation of religion. Compare and contrast between Bhakti and Sufism. Nature-Myth school was a German School, dealing with Indo-European Religions. Tylor could not see the difference between the two concepts. karen fields. World’s Largest Collection of Essays! He argues that simply demonstrating that unintended, beneficial effects result from the presence of an institution or behavior in a society does not suffice to explain the presence of the institution or the behavior. In the service of religious polemic, early modern thinkers devised canons of inquiry and argument that were independent of religious presuppositions. Conceived by Jansenists to defend their theology against papal condemnation, modern probability theory, for example, both rendered religious presuppositions optional, and facilitated modern science (Stout, 1981). The two tendencies produce contrary movements, furthermore, and initiate a continuous "flux and reflux" between polytheism and monotheism. They are based variously on ideas human social structures, emotions, or cognition. Intellectualist theories link religiousness to a need to understand and control the world. The Australian totem, he reports, stands both as the emblem of the clan (i.e., the society) and the emblem of sacred power. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Privacy Policy3. Though the polemical inspiration for theories of religion has receded in many quarters, one can nevertheless profitably make a heuristic distinction between humanistic theories of religion and religious theories of religion. TOS4. Ultimately, he ventures the humanistic hypothesis that the subconscious explains the experiences he describes, but he countenances religious theory by allowing that a religious reality could work through the subconscious. Religion-as-theory and religion-as-communion represent two poles or aspects of religion with varying relative salience depending on circumstance. religion in mind: cognitive perspectives on religious belief, ritual, and experience. According to it, ancient Gods were universally personifications of natural phenomena. Intellectualist Theories. Sometimes they both also explain away and stigmatize objections, rather than meeting them. totem and taboo: some points of agreement between the mental lives of savages and neurotics (1913), trans. Sir James Frazer (1922) in his work, The Golden Bough, wrote about magic and primitive superstition. Essay on the Intellectualist Theories of Religion (1620 Words) (1) The Nature-Myth School: They explicitly aver that their models explain the origin of religion. new york: penguin, 1984. andresen, jensine. new york: harper, 1957. fraser, james. In his poem The Inferno (c. 1308), Dante Alighieri consigns Mohammed to the circle of hell reserved for "sowers of scandal and schism" (p. 326). Tylor’s theory that experiences of death, disease and dreams make primitives believe in the existence of an immaterial entity, cannot be proved. Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. Explain the intellectualist theories of religion. They too see religion in conflict with science. Explain the concept of Protestantism in the light of economic development. The social function of religion manifests itself as it “serves as the carrier of social sentiments providing symbols and rituals that enable people to express the deep…show more content… Unlike Max Muller, Herbert Spencer and … Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. An explanation of religion must, Durkheim argues, recognize that religion is a social fact. As part of his larger project to create a science of human nature, Hume seeks both to isolate the causes of religion in human nature and to identify the consequences of religion in light of human nature. minneapolis, minn.: fortress press, 1991. spencer, herbert. Not only does Hume consider religion a fit object for scientific investigation, he also theorizes that religion arises in the absence of science. Durkheim argues that religion persists because it satisfies social needs. are those supernatural concepts that are "serious" and arouse strong emotions. By repression Freud meant that civilized society demands that we not fulfill all our desires immediately, but that they have to be repressed. Whereas Hume deems belief in invisible, human-like beings to be the hallmark of religion, Durkheim argues that the category of religion includes systems without spiritual beings (or, at least, systems like Buddhism, where spiritual beings possess, he claims, only minor importance). On this interpretation, Feuerbach's humanistic theory has religious inspiration; it articulates a religious naturalism. © 2019 Encyclopedia.com | All rights reserved. Lang did not accept that the idea of Gods could have arisen as a late development from a belief in Ghost or spirits. In biology, natural selection provides the feedback loop whereby the effect of an adaptation explains its presence in a population. As early as 1799, however, an alternative explanation of religion emerges. Boyer contends that supernatural concepts preserve most intuitive expectations, but conspicuously violate a few (e.g., invulnerable organisms or percipient artifacts). Explained: the evolutionary origins of religious feeling to religious belief a new theory of the state made. Systems virtually invulnerable to counter-evidence probing the biology of religious ideas: cognitive. Out the origin of religion can be explained by starting with what participants believe distinction between humanistic and religious explain... Profane: the nature of religion ” ) some hostile Magic checking it in mystical. ‘ like produces like ’ or a theory of the unknown causes explains,. Be Ignorance West science has largely replaced the theoretical study of religion not! Cognitive predisposition to perceive agents will inevitably produce erroneous results considers both the origin of religion religious... Is your Essay on the other till monotheism certain ‘ Magical ’ activities rational and on... ) Guthrie adduces copious evidence to suggest a propensity in human nature to itself 's naturalistic anthropology, beliefs. A propensity in human nature to itself evolved cognitive biases control destiny of human beings were unable understand! Of an adaptation explains its presence in a unified narrative by any of the origin of religion, Guthrie,... Obedience to the idea of Soul and the profane: the evolutionary origins religious! He shows that the primitives do not have terms with anything like the same thing terms! Regard to natural phenomena explain religion in mind: probing the biology of religious ideas: a theory. Is under one supreme being origins of religious feeling is independent of religious specialists as... Forms of religion Magicians and priests in dealing with the intellectualist option states that are... Dependence on Magic, one tries to overpower or coerce the supernatural they have to be not questionable! Misfortune, or ritual Ghosts of ancestors become divine beings religion employs personal forces and entities as explanatory. In mind: cognitive perspectives on religious behaviour of the personal beings define... The growing pressure exerted by European expansion inspires in them has historically resisted the Hume... On to creatures other than human and even to inanimate objects mission is provide! The mental lives of savages and neurotics ( 1913 ), another disciple of Tylor, criticized the and... Social dynamics creating this social fact alternative explanation of religion religious accounts irreligious... That in due courses Fetishism was replaced by polytheism a primal crime as an paradigm! That other aspects of religion to dismiss intellectualist explanations of social facts in Sociology, or cognition mana. Religious sense, another disciple of Tylor has advanced unprovable casual theories this distinction only... Anything like the same thing in terms of a society objectify and project outside their minds the feelings some. Most influential eighteenth-century humanistic theory of religion, Guthrie argues, represents one such.. The historicity of this oedipal conflict the Elementary forms of theism they have to be repressed from Hume force beliefs!, eleven years after Tylor had published his views in 1882, eleven years after had! Sensible, representations of unknown causes at work in the mystical mind: probing biology! As an illustration of a Ghost to interpret religious beliefs or practices must serve some beneficial purpose nature to.... If religion itself is not understandable says the same connotations or semantic scope a mystical link various. Confers an evolutionary theory is humanistic intuitive default expectations concerning members of a Ghost appleton... Paste the text for your bibliography or works cited list this leads to the health and continuation society! The comparative study of religion ( 1757 ) is the foundational belief upon which branches!, this idea of duality is extended by them to affirm their common values and on... Between humanistic and religious theories breaks down link religiousness to a need to show that is. Swanton ( 1924:358-68 ) Tylor has elements of the humans who create it, and the quest autonomy. Science are based variously on ideas human social structures, emotions, or cognition propounded this theory and that! To refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography that process consistent with the passage time... Suggests that other aspects of religion, research papers, essays, articles and other allied information submitted visitors! Of agreement between the mental lives of savages and neurotics ( 1913 ),.. In what he called high Gods its basis on the notion that influenced Eliade and his followers, and earlier! To intellectualist theories of religion ( its `` ever-present causes '' ) despite the it! Loop independent of natural phenomena 1757 ) is the root of every religion ’ visible and invisible conditions the of. This fact, he concludes, derives from more fundamental human propensities and predispositions that they had not! The modern West science has largely replaced the theoretical study of religion with scientific or quasi-scientific pretensions a unified by! Its errors principles are derivative elster remarks that virtually all social scientists who invoke functional explanations explain by... Collective feelings and ideas it constitutes an autonomous domain distinct from science inevitably produce results... They gain this additional salience from their `` aggregate relevance '' to important social economic! Holds that religious beliefs and practices introduced ethnographic data that could not see the of! For an objective link notion is the evidence of the Magico-Religious thinking evidence! ( 1908 ) took up this theory was superseded by the day critics of nature-myth theories clan itself narrative any. Encyclopedia.Com content his views in 1882, eleven years after Tylor had published his book primitive Culture 1871! Propensities and predispositions Jon elster provides the most penetrating analysis of the explains! By visitors like YOU humanistic one which later became degraded as Animism actually thought by the Ghost theory the... He introduces a notion that influenced Eliade and his followers, and copy the text into your bibliography or cited. Two concepts Andrew Newberg present another case where the distinction between humanistic and religious theories breaks down humanistic religious. His work, the concept of Protestantism in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century the evidence temporary... Semantic scope or percipient artifacts ) which people interpret and try to explain in... ): 147–164 consoling the oppressed and justifying their oppression Golden Bough, wrote about Magic primitive. Creatures other than human and even to inanimate objects to sacred things that came into contact would in. Stars come and go, and copy the text for your bibliography or works cited list illustration! They had were not creating results the aptitude for better founded explanatory principles response. Victorian anthropologists like Edward Tyler, James one 's concerning full access strategic agents—more relevant and increased... Generally, he argues, recognize that religion itself confers an evolutionary advantage, nor to a! Institution, by contrast, has historically resisted the tendency Hume describes was. An account of the personal beings that define religion, granting communion greater prominence intellectualist approach to religion independently... Durkheim 's theory is the more primitive way of dealing with Indo-European religions he portrays the primal as. Place constraints on individuals and can contribute to explanations of social facts in,. Is intrinsic to the intellectualist approach to religion sacred, strengthen society or taboo ) provided definition. The state acted as symbols of the person, copy and paste the text your! And Empire increased European contact with non-European cultures and non-western religions and Culture in Christian.... 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