The Sociology of Religion

by Dr. S

Welcome to The Sociology of Religion. This is Dr Michael S’s course blog for Sociology 231: The Sociology of Religion from Athabasca University. Sociology 231 is a respectful, sensitive, but critical examination of the Earthling institution of religion. On this blog you will find short articles by Dr. S. exploring various related topics as well as examples of the best work produced by students in the class. If you’d like to learn more about the sociology of religion, visit Athabasca University, become a student, and register in the course.

Posts by Dr S.

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Your course has transcended the traditional paradigms and schools of thought and allowed for critical thinking. This priceless experience has been extremely beneficial and I thank you for that. I hope that the summer is treating you well and I wish you all the best. I look forward to taking another set of courses on Athabasca in the near future and maybe I will be lucky enough to have you as my professor. Kahlil D. Butler Find out more about the course.

Student Work

The Gospel According to Mary

Here is a paper by an Athabasca University Sociology 231 Student that points to a tradition of suppression in Christianity. This is not to point fingers. The “sacred” text of all religious have been tampered and doctored with in some way either because class, gender, and national interests. It is just to say, whether you are one of the faithful, a skeptic, or just someone seeking answers to the big questions of life, it is something to be aware of.

Religion, Rock and Roll

When I was a young lad I was attracted to rock music that had spiritual, mystical, and religious overtones. Of course, because I had rejected the Catholicism of my birth I would never have shown up in a statistic on the prevalence of spirituality. I thus represented a spirituality that may be hidden from the view of many academics. This paper does a marvelous job of revealing some of these overtones in the rock music of today and yesterday. Maybe its a surprise to you because you think that only “Christian Rock” is spiritual, but maybe its not. However you approach this the key is to see that spirituality and religion penetrate our reality far more than proponents of the secularization thesis would be comfortable admitting, I think.

The Christian Right: Opportunistic Exploitation of Human Needs

Part 1, Question: Pick one of the two textbooks and write a 1600-word summary of the ways in which either the Christian Right or the New Age movement represents opportunistic exploitation of fundamental human needs. Part 1, Answer: The Christian Right is a...

Attempting to recover the Authentic Core

Sociologists have thus far figured that religion is nothing more than elite ideology, collective delusion, or Sunday social event. While these perspective do represent truth, religion is ideology, it can be delusion, and it is often little more than a social event, it is also much more. Religion is the search for answers to the big questions and no where do we see this more clearly than when we compare what some might consider radically opposed traditions. When we look we see that pagan, Christian, Jew, heavy metal rocker, or even scientists, we’re all struggling (against ideology, self interest, and the exploitation of spiritual needs for personal gain.) to find the answers

Rupert Sheldrake

The question in the first assignment of this course is all about science, and in particular the closed minded quality of elite scientific discourse like that found in the “big gun” journals like Nature and Science. You’d never think that you’d find high priests decrying heretics and calling us to burn books, but here you have it. It is part of the ideologically rooted “thought control” that silences open scientific debate on core spiritual ideas (for an example, see my article on Scientists and Spirituality.

Serpent Oil – A Look at False Profits

Serpent Oil – A Look at False Profits

by Michelle Robertson A relative staple of the New World pioneer days was the ‘Snake Oil’ salesman (Ghandi, 2013). He would travel from town to town, setting up his display wagon, and offer you ‘Dr. So-and-So’s’ medicine that would cure almost anything. People would...