Beliefs in Society

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Ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions

Science as a social construct. Issues in defining
religion.

Religion and science as belief systems and
ideological influences.

Different theoretical views on the role and
function of religion, eg functionalist, Marxist
(including neo-Marxist), feminist and
postmodernist.

The relationship between social change and social stability, and religious beliefs, practices and organisations

Sociological views on religion as a conservative
force and, as a force for social change, for
stability or conflict.

The impact of social change on religious belief,
practices and organisations.

Religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice

Characteristics of different types of religious organisation.

Explanations for growth or decline of different
forms of religious organisation.

The relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements, beliefs and practices

Patterns of religiosity among different social
groups, such as social class, ethnicity, gender
and age

Explanations for changes in these patterns.

The significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context, and globalisation and the spread of religions.

Defining and measuring secularisation. The
extent of belief and practice

Competing explanations and evidence for
secularisation in terms of belief, practice and
organisations.

Global context of debate including
fundamentalism and the growth of religion.

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