<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
  • Explain the differences between various types of religious organizations
  • Understand classifications of religion, like animism, polytheism, monotheism, and atheism
  • Describe several major world religions
The symbols of 14 religions are depicted in a circle around the edge of an illustration of Earth, with North America and part of South America visible. The Earth illustration is shown sitting in the middle of a starry sky.
The symbols of fourteen religions are depicted here. In no particular order, they represent Judaism, Wicca, Taoism, Christianity, Confucianism, Baha’i, Druidism, Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Shinto, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Can you match the symbol to the religion? What might a symbolic interactionist make of these symbols? (Photo courtesy of ReligiousTolerance.org )

The major religions of the world (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Christianity, Taoism, and Judaism) differ in many respects, including how each religion is organized and the belief system each upholds. Other differences include the nature of belief in a higher power, the history of how the world and the religion began, and the use of sacred texts and objects.

Types of religious organizations

Religions organize themselves—their institutions, practitioners, and structures—in a variety of fashions. For instance, when the Roman Catholic Church emerged, it borrowed many of its organizational principles from the ancient Roman military and turned senators into cardinals, for example. Sociologists use different terms, like ecclesia, denomination, and sect, to define these types of organizations. Scholars are also aware that these definitions are not static. Most religions transition through different organizational phases. For example, Christianity began as a cult, transformed into a sect, and today exists as an ecclesia.

Cults , like sects, are new religious groups. In the United States today this term often carries pejorative connotations. However, almost all religions began as cults and gradually progressed to levels of greater size and organization. The term cult is sometimes used interchangeably with the term new religious movement (NRM). In its pejorative use, these groups are often disparaged as being secretive, highly controlling of members’ lives, and dominated by a single, charismatic leader.

Controversy exists over whether some groups are cults, perhaps due in part to media sensationalism over groups like polygamous Mormons or the Peoples Temple followers who died at Jonestown, Guyana. Some groups that are controversially labeled as cults today include the Church of Scientology and the Hare Krishna movement.

A sect     is a small and relatively new group. Most of the well-known Christian denominations in the United States today began as sects. For example, the Methodists and Baptists protested against their parent Anglican Church in England, just as Henry VIII protested against the Catholic Church by forming the Anglican Church. From “protest” comes the term Protestant.

Occasionally, a sect is a breakaway group that may be in tension with larger society. They sometimes claim to be returning to “the fundamentals” or to contest the veracity of a particular doctrine. When membership in a sect increases over time, it may grow into a denomination. Often a sect begins as an offshoot of a denomination, when a group of members believes they should separate from the larger group.

Questions & Answers

How far is Marxist Assession true. That religion is just an opium of people
Thulani Reply
what is social mobility
Hacking Reply
how in the he day-to-day world is religion ruling socialogy
Mugimba Reply
By setting it's own standard of acceptable norms and behaviours, using the Holy books etc
Chimba
what are the social institutions that maintain social control in the society
Uzair Reply
what is socialization
Uzair
explain the characteristics of planned social change
Hellen Reply
important of culture
Owolabi
what is social research
Rafaqat Reply
what is soft science
Rafaqat
what is fertility
gleyn Reply
what is social interaction
Zakir Reply
the 2 pespetives
Bendu
relationship between two or more individuals through social media, peer group, groups etc
Ann
A child is born a tabularrasa
Judith Reply
a child is born a tabularrasa.discuss the assetion
Judith
discuss the importance of modernization
Minsa Reply
what are the importance
Anesu
being happy and healthy
Jo
what is human capital theory
Luka Reply
human capital
hassan
human capital is the stock of knowledge intelligence and creativity embodies in the ability to perform labor in the production of economy value
hassan
what are the fuctions of socialization
Usman
what is the relationship between sociology and other disciplines
blunted Reply
why is Emile durkheim refers to as the founding father of academic sociology
Ojewande Reply
because he's the first founder of sociology 1789-1857
Alpha
what type of study could put human participants at risk? why?
ken Reply
u r studying or some how relate to social sector
shazab
drugs
Anesu
because in most cases the doing the study uses participant observation that is he or she will be involved in the drug act in order for him or her to get propriate results, data or information about the study of drugs.
Anesu
As my Opinions secondary type of Education could put risk like an Social media google and other resources which are not athentic they should very risky and as it is here we saw in the studies of drugs they totaly promote drugs for there profits I think SE could put human participants at risk.
Azhar
what is culture shock?
Blessing Reply
the total way of life
Fazal
some rituals are not common in All culture and when someone observes a new thing about culture if it is shocking thing then it is called Culture shock
usman
personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life
Khadija
ia a sense of anxiety, depression, or confusion that result from being cut off from your familiar culture.
Asim
I agree with Usman Ali
Fatty
yes
Language
Culture shock is an experience a person may have when one moves to a cultural environment which is different from one's own
Language
I Agreed With You Usman Ali
Muhammad
thank you
usman
it is also the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country, 
Language
It's common to experience culture shock when some one transplanted into a different culture.
Hamid
greetings to all
Abubakar

Get the best Introduction to sociol... course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Introduction to sociology 2e' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask