Assess sociological explanations for the increasing number of religions and spiritual organisations and movements in society today. (33 Marks)
Since the 1960’s there has been an increase in the number of sects and cults that are among religious organisations. There are also now an estimated 850 new religious movements. Sociologists offer many reasons for this but the main three are marginality, relative deprivation and social change. However due to the lack of consensus on how to operationalize new religious movements there is difficulty categorising them and therefore there is a complex sociological view
In the past there have been 4 main typologies of religious organisations, church, ...view middle of the document...
A world affirming religion, like scientology, accepts the world and offers to help gain success in mainstream goals. This differs to world rejecting, such as children of god, as they do not accept societies norms for a religious alternative, often wanting to return to a more traditional form of religion. World accommodating differs to both of these as it chooses to neither reject nor accept societies view but prefer to focus on religious matter. World rejecting groups are very similar to Troeltsch’s idea of sects as they choose to break away from society. The growth of them comes from the social changed
There are three main sociological reasoning’s for the increase in new religious movement’s marginality, relative deprivation and social change. It was noticed by Troeltsch that sects tend to draw their members from the poor and oppressed. Weber also argued that world-rejecting movements tend to arise in groups who are marginal to society as such groups may feel that they are unprivileged. He argues that these religious organisations offer a solution to this problem by offering their members a theodicy of unprivileged, a religious explanation and justification of their suffering and disadvantage. However since the 1960s, these world-rejecting new religious movements, such as the Moonies, have recruited mainly from more affluent groups of often well-educated young middle class whites. Wallis argues however that this does not contradict Weber’s view as many of these individuals have become marginal within society.
Relative Deprivation refers to the subjective sense of being deprived. This means that although MC people are materially well off, they may feel they are spiritually deprived, especially in today’s materialistic, consumerist world. Wallis argues that because of this they may turn to sects and world rejecting movements for a sense of community. Similarly Stark and Bainbridge argue that world-rejecting sects offer to the deprived the compensators that they need for the rewards they are denied in this world. The privileged however need no compensators and are therefore attracted to world-accepting
Wilson argues that periods of rapid change and disrupt undermine established norms and values which produces anomie or normlessness and in response to this uncertainty and insecurity, those who are most affected by the...