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Social Institutions

      I.          How Do Sociologists Study Religion?

  1. Religion: a system of common beliefs and rituals centered on “sacred things” that unites believers and provides a sense of meaning and purpose.
    1. Theism: a belief in one or more supernatural deities; common characteristic of religion.
  2. Sociologists look at religion in the context of society, asking about its role and function and identifying its basic social elements.
    1. Religion is a form of culture, constituted by a common worldview that draws together those who identify with it.
    2. Religion includes the ritualization and routinization of beliefs.
      1. Adherents engage in practices that identify them as members of the group and create or affirm group bonds.
      2. Create and reinforce social cohesion.
    3. Religion provides a sense of purpose and meaning.
  3. Sociologists study religion as a social institution.
    1. Do not study whether religious beliefs are true or false–regard religious beliefs not as truths decreed by deities, but as the social constructions of human beings.
    2. Study the social organization of religion.
    3. Study the function of religions as sources of solidarity within a group or society.
      1. Differences between religions or sects may lead to destabilizing conflicts.
      2. Ask whether religion is a stabilizing or destabilizing force on a global level.
    4. Study the ways in which social forces, rather than individual spiritual experiences, affect people’s commitment to religion.

   II.          Theoretical Perspectives on Religion and Society

  1. Anthropology: the study of human cultures and societies and their development.
  2. Shared question of sociologists and anthropologists: Did organized religion arise in response to a need for cohesion in early human societies, or did religion come first, fostering a shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to settled agricultural communities?

III.          The Classical View: Religion, Society, and Secularization

  1. Emile Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life studied the Australian Aborigines.
  2. Aborigines divided their world into two parts:
    1. Profane: a sphere of routine, everyday life.
    2. Sacred: that which is set apart from the ordinary, sphere endowed with spiritual meaning.
      1. Totems: within the sacred sphere, ordinary objects are believed to have acquired transcendent or magical qualities connecting humans with the divine.
    3. Durkheim argued that “totemism” was the most primitive form of religion.
      1. Example: some Native Americans placed sacred status on the bison; body and blood of Christ through wafer and win in Catholicism.
      2. During sacred rituals and ceremonies, people experience heightened emotional awareness and a spiritual connection with divine forces and other members of the community.
      3. They lose their sense of individuality and merge with the larger group.
    4. Durkheim believed that the sacred is the group, endowed with divine powers and purpose. By worshipping the sacred, society worships itself, becoming stronger and more cohesive as a result.
      1. Created a collective conscience.
    5. He thought the sacred was disappearing from modern industrial society, but we could create secular forms of religion with the same function of the collective conscience.
      1. Nationalism/national pride, civic duties (American athletes in the Olympic Games).
    6. Durkheim’s work suggests that one of religion’s key functions in society is to create and reinforce the collective bond.
    7. Herbert Blumer: the meaning of a thing for a person grows out of the ways in which others respond to the object and the person’s actions toward it.
      1. Example: flags, wafers are only sacred because of how people respond.
    8. Karl Marx: religion serves the interests of the ruling class by providing an outlet for human misery that obscures the true source of suffering among the subordinate classes–their exploitation by the ruling class.
      1. Believed once capitalism was overthrown, religion would cease to exist.
      2. Secularization: the rise in worldly thinking, particularly as seen in the rise of science, technology, and rational thought, and a simultaneous decline in the influence of religion.
        1. Marx viewed secularization as progressive, since the social solidarity and harmony promoted by religion were contrary to the interests of the masses and prevented their recognition of their own exploitation.
      3. Max Weber: concluded that capitalism first appeared where the Protestant Reformation had taken hold, and that the driving force behind its development was Protestantism’s religious tenets and the economic behaviors they fostered.
        1. God places each person on earth to fulfill a particular “calling.” People could find evidence of God’s plan in a life dedicated to hard work because economic success was an indicator of salvation.
        2. Protestantism held that consumption-centered lifestyles were sinful. Believers were expected to live simple lives, work hard, and save and reinvest their earnings rather than enjoy the immediate gratifications of idleness or acquisition.
        3. Once capitalism took hold, it became institutionalized and shed the religious ethic that fueled its development.
        4. Society becomes an “iron cage,” imprisoning people in “rationalized” but irrational bureaucratic structures, rote work, and lives bereft of spirituality or creativity.

 IV.          Synthesizing the Classical Theories

  1. Durkheim’s insight: that sacred rituals and objects function to strengthen community solidarity and embody the community, itself.
    1. Durkheim most applicable to highly homogeneous and cohesive societies. In modern, racially, socially, and ethnically diverse societies, religion no longer serves such a clear purpose.
  2. Marx’s insight: that religion may divert people from the immediate problems of daily life, particularly where the same elite circles hold both religious and political power.
    1. His central idea that religion is purely a mystification enabling the ruling class to deceive the masses is problematic.
      1. While religions have supported ruling groups in many historical instances, they have also challenged such groups.
      2. For many people religious beliefs fill a need that has little to do with political or economic power–a function Marx ignored.
        1. When communist countries sought to follow Marx’s ideas and marginalize religion, they were remarkably unsuccessful. Religious beliefs flourished underground, and experienced resurgence after the fall of communism.
      3. Weber’s insight: that a religious ethic of hard work and thrift contributes to economic growth used to explain examples of economic success around the world.
        1. His conclusions are critiqued:
          1. They were based on the writings of Protestant theologians rather than on actual Protestant practices.
          2. Some argue that capitalism developed among Jews and Catholics–and, Hindus, Muslims, and Confucians–as well as among Protestants.
        2. No single theoretical perspective fully captures the sociological picture of religion but these perspectives, together, help explain why religion exists, persists, and how it functions.

   V.          The “Religious Economy” Perspective

  1. Religious economy approach: suggests that religions can be fruitfully understood as organizations in competition with one another for followers.
    1. Competition leads to increased engagement in religious organizations.
      1. Competition compels each religious group to exert more effort to win followers, reaching out to the masses in a variety of ways in order to capture their attention.
      2. The presence of numerous religions means there will be something for everyone.
    2. About 28% of U.S. adults change religious affiliation over their lifetime.
      1. 44% include those who change within a certain tradition.
    3. This “shopping” approach is also subject to critique:
      1. Most deeply committed believers are likely to practice childhood religions without considering alternatives.
      2. Most common shift is from a religious group to the “nonaffiliated” group.

 VI.          Types of Religious Organizations

  1. Thomas O’Dea: In traditional societies, same social groups provide satisfaction for both expressive and adaptive needs. In modern societies, organizations that meet adaptive needs are separated from those which provide an outlet for expressive needs.
  2. In modern societies, religion is institutionalized–organized, routinized, and accepted.
    1. Churches–conventional and well-established.
    2. Cults–neither conventional nor well-established.
    3. Sects–lie somewhere in between.

VII.          Church

  1. Church: a well-established religious organization that exists in a fairly harmonious relationship with the larger society.
    1. Example: Presbyterian, United Methodist, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic.
  2. Respectable, mainstream organizations that reflect society’s prevailing values and beliefs.
  3. Formal, bureaucratically organized, with fairly conventional practices.
  4. Ecclesia: formally allied with the state and is the official religion of the society.
    1. Example: Greek Orthodox Church in Greece.
  5. Denomination: a church that is not formally allied with the state.
    1. Example: all churches in the United States.
    2. Existence of denominations allows for freedom of religious choice.

VIII.          Sect

  1. Sect: a religious organization that has splintered off from an established church, in an effort to restore perceived “true” beliefs and practices believed to have been lost by the established religious organization.
    1. Example: Protestant fundamentalist and evangelical religious groups.
  2. Tend to hold religious beliefs consistent with the dominant, yet also exist in tension as splinter groups.
  3. More emotional, emphasizing heightened personal experience and religious conversion.
  4. Appeal more to marginalize than mainstream individuals, drawing followers from among lower-income households, racial and ethnic minorities, and the rural poor.
  5. If successful, they may grow in size, evolving into churches, becoming bureaucratized, and losing their emotional appeal.

 IX.          Cult

  1. Cult: a religious organization that is thoroughly unconventional with regard to the larger society.
    1. Tend to be new, with unique beliefs and practices that originate outside the mainstream.
    2. Often led by charismatic figures who draw on a wide range of teachings to develop the group’s novel ideas.
      1. Example: doomsday cults–The Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT).
    3. Flourish when there is a breakdown in well-established societal belief systems or when segments of the population feel alienated from the mainstream and seek meaning elsewhere.
    4. May flourish within or outside of a society and what is perceived in a cult in one country may be accepted as an established religious practice in another.
  2. New Religious Movements (NRMs): new spiritual groups or communities that occupy a peripheral place in a country’s dominant religious landscape.
    1. A more neutral sociological term for cults.
    2. Example: Scientology.
  3. Eschatology and Social Media
    1. “End times,” particularly interesting to evangelical Christians, has been powerfully marketed over social media.
      1. Example: Left Behind series and products.

   X.          World Religions

  1. Three-quarters of people follow three religions: Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

 XI.          Christianity

  1. 2 billion followers. Encompasses a broad spectrum of denominations, sects, and even new religious movements.
  2. Common beliefs:
    1. Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah or savior foretold in the Hebrew Bible.
    2. At the beginning of time, humans fell from God’s grace through their sinful acts.
    3. Acceptance of Christ and his teachings provides the key to salvation.
    4. New Testament account of the Resurrection, according to which Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion and then ascended to heaven.
  3. Monotheism: belief in a single all-knowing, all-powerful God; also all regard God as a trinity–Father, His Son the Savior, and His sustaining Holy Spirit.
    1. First emerged in Palestine about 2,000 years ago–it was a persecuted sect outside the mainstream of Jewish and Roman religious practices.
    2. Within four centuries, became ecclesia of the Roman Empire.
    3. In the 11th century, it divided into the Eastern Orthodox Church (based in Turkey) and the Catholic Church (based in Rome).
    4. Within the Catholic Church, a great split when the 16th-century Protestant Reformation gave rise to numerous Protestant denominations, sects, and cults.
    5. Emphasis on direct relationship between the individual and God, rather than the church hierarchy serving as intermediary and authority.

XII.          Islam

  1. 6 billion followers. Second largest and the fastest-growing religion in the world.
  2. Muslim: the term for those who practice al-Islam, an Arabic word meaning submission without reservation to God’s will.
  3. About 60% live in Asia-Pacific; 20% in Middle East and North Africa.
  4. Believe in positive devotion to Allah (God).
  5. Trace their religion to the ancient Hebrew prophet Abraham, also the founder of Judaism.
  6. Precepts of Islam as revealed to 7th-century Arab Prophet Muhammad are contained in a sacred book dictated to his followers and called the Koran (or Qur’an), which means “recitation.”
    1. Ideas were not initially accepted in his birthplace of Mecca (Saudi Arabia).
    2. In 622, he and his followers moved to Medina (Saudi Arabia).
    3. Hijra, or migration, marks the beginning of Islam.
    4. Muhammad is not worshipped nor is he a messiah. Seen as a teacher and prophet, the last in a line that includes Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus.
  7. Sharia, or way, includes prescriptions for worship, daily life, ethics, and government.
  8. Muslim life is governed by the Five Pillars of Islam:
    1. Accepting Allah as God and Muhammad as Allah’s messenger.
    2. Worshipping according to rituals, including facing toward Mecca and bowing in prayer at five set times each day.
    3. Observing Ramadan, a month of prayer and fasting during the daylight hours.
    4. Giving alms or donations to those who are poor or in need.
    5. Making a holy pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
  9. Broadly divided into Sunnis and Shiites.
  10. Jihad: a spiritual, personal struggle for enlightenment.

XIII.          Judaism

  1. About 13 million followers–smallest of the world’s major religions.
  2. Most Jews live in just two countries: Israel (home to about 42% of the global Jewish population) and the United States (39%).
  3. Key foundation of Islam and Christianity.
  4. In European and U.S. culture, Jews have played a role disproportionate to their numbers in such diverse fields as music, literature, science, education, and business.
  5. Existence of Israel as a Jewish state since 1948 has given international prominence.
  6. One of the first religions to teach monotheism.
  7. Followers are God’s chosen people, but they do not have a duty to convert others.
  8. Torah (or “law”), a scroll on which are inscribed the first five books of the Bible.
    1. Jewish law was given by God to Moses when he led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt about 3,500 years ago.
    2. Codified in books called the Mishnah and the Talmud.
  9. Three principal divisions:
    1. Orthodox Judaism believes the Bible derives from God, and that its teachings are absolutely binding.
    2. Reform Judaism views the Bible as a historical document containing important ethical precepts, but not literally the word of God.
    3. Conservative Judaism occupies a middle ground, maintaining many traditional practices while adapting others to modern society.
  10. Jews have often suffered persecution, and anti-Semitism has a long global history.
    1. Twelfth century on, European and Russian Jews were often forced to live in special districts termed ghettos, where they lacked full rights as citizens and were sometimes targets of harassment and murder.
  11. Zionism: a movement calling for the return of Jews to Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state.
    1. Established settlements in Palestine early in the 20th century, living for the most part peacefully with their Arab and Palestinian neighbors at the time.
    2. Following World War II and Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews, the State of Israel was created as a homeland for the survivors, igniting political tensions in the region to this day.

XIV.          Hinduism

  1. There are just over 1 billion Hindus in the world, primarily in India where they make up the majority of the population.
  2. About 2,000 years older than Christ, one of the oldest religions in the world and the source of Buddhism and Sikhism.
  3. Not based on the teachings of any single individual, and its followers do not trace their origins to a single deity.
  4. Ethical religion that calls for an ideal way of life.
  5. An ideal life is partly achieved by performing the duties appropriate to your caste.
  6. Believe in samsara, the reincarnation of the soul according to a person’s karma, or actions on earth.
  7. Whether someone is reborn into a higher or lower caste depends on the degree to which the person is committed to dharma, or the ideal way of life.
  8. Although orthodox Hinduism requires observance of caste duties, for the past 500 years, religious societies have organized around gurus who break with caste conventions, emphasizing devotional love as the central spiritual act.
    1. Influenced Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India’s independence movement.
  9. Believe in the God-like unity of all things, but has aspects of polytheism: the belief that different gods represent various categories of natural forces.

XV.          Buddhism

  1. Estimated 490 million, although many may practice certain precepts without calling themselves Buddhists.
  2. Founded in India by Siddhartha Gautama five centuries before Christ.
  3. Young Siddhartha renounced an upper-caste life of material splendor in search of a more meaningful existence.
    1. A lifetime of wandering, occasional poverty, and different spiritual practices eventually taught him the way to achieve enlightenment, and he became the Buddha, the awakened or enlightened one.
  4. Nontheistic religion: believes in the existence of divine spiritual forces rather than a God or gods.
  5. More a set of rules for righteous living than a doctrine of belief in a particular God.
  6. Four Noble Truths
    1. All beings–gods, humans, and animals–are caught up in an endless round of suffering and rebirth, the result of their karma or actions.
    2. Suffering results from desire or attachment. To the extent that we depend on wealth or friends or family or even religious beliefs for satisfaction, we are condemned to suffer unending frustration and loss.
    3. Suffering can be overcome if we break the endless cycle of karma and rebirth and achieve nirvana–a blissful state of emptiness.
    4. The means of achieving nirvana are contained in the Eightfold Path, which advocates ethical behavior, a simple lifestyle, renunciation of material pleasures, meditation, and eventually enlightenment.
  7. Animism: the belief that naturally occurring phenomena, such as mountains and animals, are possessed of indwelling spirits with supernatural powers. Shinto Buddhism in Japan.
  8. Buddhism continues to attract followers in Western countries, including celebrities such as actor Orlando Bloom, singer Tina Turner, and the late Steve Jobs of Apple.

XVI.          Confucianism

  1. Only about 6 million practitioners.
  2. Founder K’ung-Fu-tzu (551–479 BC) never wrote down his teachings, but his followers compiled many in a book called The Analects that became the foundation of official ethics and politics for some 2,000 years in China.
    1. Banned after the Communist revolution in 1949.
  3. More of a philosophical system for ethical living on earth than a religion honoring a transcendental god.
  4. Emphasizes harmony in social relations, respect for authority and hierarchy, tradition, and the honoring of elders.
  5. Rulers are expected to be morally virtuous, setting an example for others to imitate.
  6. The group is more important than the individual.
  7. Jen, meaning “love” or “goodness” and calling for faithfulness and altruism; we should never do anything to another person we would not want done to ourselves.
  8. Contemporary or “neo-Confucianism,” has mystical elements as well as moral ones, including belief in the Tao (pronounced dow), or “way of being,” determined by the natural harmony of the universe.
  9. The two major principles in the universe, yin (the female principle) and yang (the male principle), are found in all things, and their dynamic interaction accounts for both harmony and change.
  10. Scholars argue that Confucian values such as respect for authority and a highly disciplined work ethic partly explain the current rapid economic growth in Singapore, Taiwan, China, and other Asian countries.
    1. This perspective supports Weber’s argument that actions rooted in religious beliefs are linked to economic development.
    2. This perspective challenges Weber’s exclusive emphasis on Western religion, and Protestantism in particular, as the source of this development.

XVII.          Women and Religion

  1. The principal deities, prophets, and leaders have been male.
  2. God is depicted as male, beliefs typically emphasize male religious and political superiority, and women are often excluded from positions of theological power.
  3. Religions initially developed by men within patriarchal societies and therefore reflect patriarchal norms and values.
  4. Christianity and Judaism: Eve, the first woman, violated God’s command and tempted Adam to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, leading to the pair’s loss of innocence and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, or paradise.
    1. All human suffering can be traced to Eve’s deception.
    2. Teachings devalue women and instruct them to be submissive.
  5. Women have long played an important but unheralded role in religion.
    1. Shaking Quakers–Ann Lee.
    2. First female evangelist ordained a bishop–Alma White.
    3. Aimee Semple McPherson founded International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
    4. Mary Baker founded Christian Science and The Christian Science Monitor.
  6. Upsurge of feminist spirituality, especially in United States.
    1. Some have turned to goddess-based religions.
    2. Fight for the reimagination of God as ungendered, calling for nonsexist language in Scripture and services, redesign traditions and rituals along nonsexist lines.

XVIII.          Religion in the United States

  1. S. believers are unusually religious compared to other modern industrial nations.
  2. Most U.S. adults profess an affiliation with a religious group.
    1. 71% self-identify as Christian; 1.9% Jewish; 0.9% Muslim; 0.7% Buddhist.
    2. About 23% are unaffiliated with a religion and this number has grown in recent years.
      1. Change driven by younger generations who have left and not reaffiliated.
    3. Americans practice their religion in public and private. About a fifth say they regularly share their faith online and 55% pray on a daily basis.

XIX.          Trends in Religious Affiliation

  1. Church membership has grown steadily over time.
  2. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are an important source of social ties and friendship networks with people who share the same beliefs and values, and who support one another during times of need.
  3. United States the most religiously diverse country in the world, over 1,500 distinct religions.
  4. Youth and young adults in the United States today are less likely to claim a religious affiliation than older adults.
  5. Data show the unaffiliated are more likely than the affiliated to say that religious organizations are overly concerned with money and power, too focused on rules, and too closely involved in politics.

XX.          Religion and Politics in the United States

  1. Conservative strand of U.S. Protestantism growing in both membership and influence.
    1. Emphasize literal interpretation of the Bible, Christian morality in daily life and public politics, conversion of others through evangelism.
  2. Key aspect of conservative growth has been evangelicalism: belief in spiritual rebirth (being “born again”).
  3. Admission of personal sin and salvation through acceptance of Christ, a literal interpretation of the Bible, an emphasis on highly emotional and personal spiritual piety, and a commitment to spreading “the Word” to others.
  4. Political influence on the Republican Party.
  5. Many U.S. voters’ political beliefs and actions are shaped by religious faith which Pew 2016 showed influencing presidential voting:
  6. 51% of respondents would be less likely to support a presidential candidate who “does not believe in God.”
  7. But some belief systems do not confer an advantage: 42% of respondents indicated they would not vote for a Muslim candidate and 23% would reject a Mormon candidate.
  8. The same study showed that a growing proportion of Americans would not be influenced by a candidate’s professed atheism.

XXI.          Religion and Disestablishment

  1. Disestablishment: a period during which the political influence of established religions is successfully challenged. Author identifies three periods of this in U.S. history:
    1. Bill of Rights separation of church and state.
    2. Late 19th-, early 20th-century immigration of Catholics.
    3. Social movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

XXII.          “Civil Religion” in the United States

  1. Civil religion: a set of sacred beliefs and practices that become part of how a society sees itself.
  2. God-like language, historical myths, sacred beliefs, restrictions on membership.
  3. The Pledge of Allegiance.
    1. Used in public life for over a century, but the phrase “under God” was added by Congress only in 1954.
    2. The First Amendment contains the Disestablishment Clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

XXIII.          Religion and Global Societies

  1. Globalization has transformed religion.
    1. Global emergence of a scientific-technological culture means fewer people may employ religious explanations for natural or social phenomena.
    2. Growing contact between large religions with mass followings that claim to possess exclusive accounts of history and the nature of reality, which can fuel “culture wars,” as well as real wars.
  2. Religious nationalism: the linkage of religious convictions with beliefs about a nation or ethnic group’s social and political destiny.
  3. May use Internet technology to disseminate information and ideas yet strictly interpret religious values and reject secularization.
    1. Example: the U.S. conservative Christian lobby has influenced domestic issues such as abortion and gay marriage and had some impact on global policymaking.
    2. Christian evangelicals have lobbied for U.S. recognition of violence against Christians in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State group as genocide.
    3. In March 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution categorizing Islamic State actions genocide, a term that the United States has been hesitant to use in global conflicts, lest it create the perception of an obligation to intervene.

XXIV.          Why Study the Sociology of Religion?

  1. Studying religion sociologically does not mean embracing or rejecting religious values, but rather analyzing an institution central to humans on individual, societal, and global level.
  2. The sociology of religion is especially relevant around these contemporary issues:
    1. The domestic status of disestablishment in the United States.
      1. Though U.S. political foundations call for the separation of church and state, religious organizations seek to influence politics and public policy.
    2. The global “war on terror” and its religious, as well as political, overtones.
      1. The United States was faulted for failing to recognize why calling the “war on terror” a “crusade” would offend Muslim sensibilities. Tensions between the West and the Muslim world provoked questions about whether there is a “clash of civilizations” that makes conflict difficult to avoid.
      2. Some in the United States worry about the “Islamization” of the Middle East and other regions, while others question the power and political influence of religion in their own U.S. government.



Social Institutions – systems and structures within society that shape the activities of groups and individuals (page 289) 

Politics –  methods and tactics intended to influence government policy, policy-related attitudes, and activities (page 289) 

Government – the formal, organized agency that exercises power and control in modern society, especially through the creation and enforcement of laws (page 289) 

Power – the ability to impose one’s will on others (page 289)

Authority – the legitimate right to wield power (page 289)

Authoritarianism – system of government by and for a small number of elites that does not include representation of ordinary citizens (page 289)

Monarchy – a government ruled by a king or queen, with succession of rulers kept within the family (page 290)

Democracy – a political system in which all citizens have the right to participate (page 290)

Disenfranchised – stripped of voting rights, either temporarily or permanently (page 291)

Power elite – a relatively small group of people in the top ranks of economic, political, and military institutions who make many of the important decisions in American society (page 292)

Pluralist model – a system of political power in which a wide variety of individuals and groups have equal access to resources and the mechanisms of power (page 293)

Special Interest Groups – organizations that raise and spend money to influence elected officials and/or public opinion (page 293)

Political Action Committees – organizations that raise money to support the interests of a select group or organization (page 294)

Opinion Leaders – high-profile individuals whose interpretation of events influences the public (page 297)

Simulacrum – an image or media representation that does not reflect reality in any meaningful way but is treated as real (page 298)

Education – the process by which a society transmits its knowledge, values, and expectations to its members so they can function effectively (page 302)

Tracking – the placement of students in educational “tracks,” or programs of study (e.g., college prep, remedial), that determine the types of classes they take (page 303)

Hidden Curriculum – values or behaviors that students learn indirectly over the course of their schooling (page 304)

Charter Schools – public schools run by private entities to give parents greater control over their children’s education (page 308)

School Vouchers – payments from the government to parents whose children attend failing public schools; the money helps parents pay private school tuition (page 308)

Homeschooling – the education of children by their parents, at home (page 308)

Unschooling – a homeschooling alternative that rejects the standard curriculum in favor of student-driven types of learning (page 309)

Earl College High Schools – institutions in which students earn a high school diploma and two years of credit toward a bachelor’s degree (page 309)

Dual Enrollment – programs that allow high school students to simultaneously enroll in college classes, earning credit for both high school and college degrees (page 310)

Community College – two-year institution that provides students with general education and facilitates transfer to a four-year university (page 311)

Online Education – any educational course or program in which the teacher and the student meet via the Internet, rather than meeting physically in a classroom (page 312)

Religion – any institutionalized system of shared beliefs and rituals that identify a relationship between the sacred and the profane (page 313)

Sacred – the holy, divine, or supernatural (page 313)

Profane – the ordinary, mundane, or everyday (page 313)

Monotheistic – a term describing religions that worship a single divine figure (page 313)

Liberation Theology – a movement within the Catholic Church to understand Christianity from the perspective of the poor and oppressed, with a focus on fighting injustice (page 314)

Religiosity – the regular practice of religious beliefs, often measured in terms of frequency of attendance at worship services and the importance of religious beliefs to an individual (page 315)

Extrinsic Religiosity – a person’s public display of commitment to a religious faith (page 315)

Intrinsic Religiosity – a person’s inner religious life or personal relationship to the divine (page 315)

Fundamentalism – the practice of emphasizing literal interpretation of texts and a “return” to a time of greater religious purity; represented by the most conservative group within any religion (page 315)

Evangelical – a term describing conservative Christians who emphasize converting others to their faith (page 317)

Unchurched – a term describing those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious and who often adopt aspects of various religious traditions (page 318)

Secular – nonreligious; a secular society separates church and state and does not endorse any religion (page 319)






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