Max Weber Sociology Of Religion

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Along with Durkheim and Marx, Weber was one of the most influential thinkers in the foundation of the field of sociology, Weber namely in establishing the subject of the sociology of religion. Weber’s mother was a devout Calvinist, while his father was involved in politics and intellectual pursuits. In addition to his vast education in many fields, Weber was also a jurist, and a teacher at the Universities of Berlin and Heidelberg. Max Weber favoured a hermeneutical approach to studying religion (McCutcheon 2007, p.188) in a method known as Verstehen. This refers to wishing to understand the deeper significance of something, in this case religion, by studying it from the perspective and experience of another, and the meaning they then attach to it. Since religious beliefs affect people’s behaviour, Weber believed that religions could have profound effects on societies and their development (Connolly 1999, p.199). While Weber, like Marx, saw religion as emerging from suffering, he had a more positive attitude towards it, seeing it as having benefits. He saw religion as being something which gave humans meaning in life and a way to respond to suffering (Herling 2015, p.74). An example the Christian doctrine of original sin can serve as an explanation for evil in the world, thereby offering a solution for people to reconcile and cope with their suffering in the world and their lives (Weber 1965, p.139). Unlike Marx, he did not see it as being an inherently negative or

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