Thesis Statement On Religion In America

Thesis Statement On Religion In America-10
William James ([1902] 1999) defined religion as “the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine” (p. For more than a century, critiques of religion have suggested that beliefs about God, including His engagement and involvement in everyday life, represent forms of delusional pathology (Ellis 1988; Freud 1976; Marx and Engels 1964; Watters 1992).

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Individuals in disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions are purportedly more likely to construct a bond with the divine to compensate for their plight and acquire otherwise-unattainable rewards (Glock and Stark 1965; Stark 1972).

This thesis posits that reliance upon an omnipotent deity who is perceived as satisfying desires may offset the deleterious psychological effects of immutable adversities in everyday life.

Krause (2002) summarizes divine relations as a set of themes in which believers have “a sense of trust in God, believe that God is in control of their lives, believe that God knows what is best for them, and believe that God ultimately ensures they will get what they need most” (p. While some individuals believe that God is involved in the details of their lives, many people also profess a belief that God is a involves the extent that one believes that God exercises a commanding authority over the course and direction of his or her own life (Schieman et al. Social scientists have sought to capture this belief conceptually with ideas like “God as a causal agent” (Ritzema and Young 1983), “religious coping” (Pargament 1997), and “God-mediated control” (Krause 2005, 2007).

Individuals who sustain a belief in divine control perceive that God has a determinative influence on the good and bad outcomes in their lives, that God has decided what their life shall be, and that their fate evolves according to God's will or plan for them (Schieman et al. Moreover, they tend to rely on God in their decision-making and more fervently seek His guidance for solutions to problems.

Across historical times, societies, and cultures, individuals have maintained a heterogeneous assortment of mental representations of God, often assigning to Him human attributes that imply something about His involvement in human affairs (i.e., “master,” “father,” and “friend”; Armstrong 1993; Miles 1995; Sharot 2001; Stark 2001, 2007). The concept of a with God identifies the ways that many people maintain a bond with the divine that parallels social relations with other people (Glock and Stark 1965; Pollner 1989).

Orthodox Christian theology socializes the belief that God desires to maintain a special connection with each individual and commonly intercedes in their lives (Ellison et al. These beliefs often include the conviction that God is a conscious, omnipotent being who has explicit expectations and desires for each human being (Black 1999; Stark and Finke 2000). According to Stark and Glock (1968: 25), “the most universal and basic element in Christian theologies is an elaborate set of assertions about the nature and will of an all-powerful and sentient God.” Similarly, Roberts and Davidson (1984) contend that the “theistic or traditional meaning system is the acceptance of God as the primary force governing and explaining life” (p. In this respect, God is the “uncaused first cause” of the universe (Sagan 2006).For example, Weber ([1922] 1963) described social differentiation in theodicies—especially the ways the lower and higher classes invoke God as causally relevant for their personal socioeconomic positions.His thesis proposed that while the rich interpret signs of God's blessing in their success, the poor are more apt to adopt a that delineates the malevolence of wealth and the impending compensation for their suffering in the next life.Consistent with this view, substantial evidence confirms that low SES individuals are more likely to seek God's will through prayer (Albrecht and Heaton 1984), and tend to report higher levels of divine interaction (Pollner 1989), feeling connected with God (Krause 2002), religious meaning and coping (Krause 2003, 1995), God-mediated control (Krause 2005, 2007), and the sense of divine control (Schieman et al. Moreover, low SES groups tend to derive greater psychological benefits from religiosity (Ellison 1991; Krause 1995; Pollner 1989).Another view predicts the reasons; I label it the “demythologized beliefs” hypothesis.One area of interest has focused on the patterning of religious precepts and practices across social strata (Davidson 1977; Demerath 1965; Fukuyama 1961; Glock and Stark 1965; Stark 1972).Wilson (1982), for example, underscored “the differential appeal of religion according to the specifics of particular classes or social groups” (p. Recent evidence confirms that stratification-based differences in religious affiliation persist (Pyle 2006; Smith and Faris 2005).My analyses focus on two potential influences that are central in sociological study of beliefs about God: SES and religious involvement.I propose that both independently shape beliefs in divine involvement and control and, more importantly, that the effects of one depend on levels of the other.Moreover, the social inequality-religion dynamic remains relevant in contemporary American society (Smith and Faris 2005), particularly in the recent rise of what is known as the “prosperity gospel” (Hunt 1998; Luo 2006).Despite the well-established prevalence and significance of beliefs about God, however, the patterning of these beliefs across social strata remains less clear.


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