Marx, Weber and Religion

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Religion, as defined by the High Court of Australia, is ‘a complex of beliefs and practices which point to a set of values and an understanding of the meaning of existence’ (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005) and can be studied either substantively or functionally (Berger 1974:126). Substantive studies of religion fall predominantly in the realm of theology and are more concerned with defining religious beliefs; their historical accuracy; and the existence of supernatural entities (Holmes, Hughes & Julian 2007:425). Sociology however, concerns itself primarily with the relationship between religion and society, examining religion as a social construction (Van Krieken et al. 2010:350-1) and concerned only with the substance of…show more content…
The Anzacs, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, forged Australia’s national identity when on 25 April 1915, they sacrificed their lives gallantly in Gallipoli (Black 1990:33). Many of the values and virtues characteristic of this troop, are embodied in the sacredness of Australia’s civil religion (eds. Robbins & Robertson 1987:244). Mateship, egalitarian individualism, and hostility to formal bureaucracy and hierarchy are hallmark of the beliefs the nation holds sacred, in conjunction with elaborate war memorials that serve as architectural reminders, totems, of comradeship, ruggedness and sacrifice (eds. Robbins & Robertson 1987:244). RSL, Returned Servicemen’s League, clubs established throughout the nation are temples where fellowship and communion are enjoyed and tradition is perpetuated through the transmission of legend and folklore (Alpert 1993:200-1; eds. Robbins & Robertson 1987:244). The establishment of Australia’s civil religion was solidified when on 20 October 1916, the War Precautions Act was proclaimed, forbidding the use of the word Anzac in the profane and penalising any person who did so with a fine of one hundred pounds or six months imprisonment (Seal 2007:136-7). Enshrining the term ‘Anzac’ in law and imbuing it with a special status, further established it as sacred, resulting in Anzac Day being accepted in 1930 as a
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