Sociological Approach to the Study of Religion

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The Sociological Approach to the Study of Religion Various methods are utilized in the study of religion and they are employed for a multitude of reasons. The method chosen to study religions is determined by the information being sought. Included among these approaches are social scientific approaches such as the anthropology of religion and the psychology of religion, and normative approaches such as the theology of religion and the philosophy of religion. There is also the sociological approach to the study of religion which is distinctive in that the goal of the sociologist is to gain an understanding of religion from a completely objective standpoint with no regard to the validity of any particular religion. One of the best and most descriptive explanations was written by Grace Davie. She wrote that, "A recently published textbook describes the task of the sociology of religion in three ways: first, to further the understanding of the role of religion in society; second, to analyze its significance in and impact upon human history; and, third, to understand the social forces and influences that in turn shape religion. A single assumption is however, embedded in all three statements: The sociologist of religion is concerned with religion only insofar as it relates to the context in which it inevitably exists. It is this relational quality that distinguishes the strictly sociological from a wide variety of other disciplines that have interests in this area"
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