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The Sociology of Religion Everyone will agree that religion is a highly complex and intricate topic for discussion. Its emergence and importance in a person's life is not easily defined nor understood by most lay people. It is because of this confusion pertaining to religion that it has become important to take a closer and more in-depth look at religion and how it affects the human psyche…
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The Sociology of Religion Everyone will agree that religion is a highly complex and intricate topic for discussion. Its emergence and importance in a person's life is not easily defined nor understood by most lay people. It is because of this confusion pertaining to religion that it has become important to take a closer and more in-depth look at religion and how it affects the human psyche. It is from this desire to understand the basis of religion and its reason for being that the sociology of religion was born. Therefore, the sociology of religion should be defined as (“The Sociological Study of Religion”); ... the study of the beliefs, practices and organizational forms of religion using the tools and methods of the discipline of sociology. This objective investigation may include the use of both quantitative methods (surveys, polls, demographic and census analysis) and qualitative approaches such as participant observation, interviewing, and analysis of archival, historical and documentary materials. From the aforementioned definition of the sociology of religion, one will come to understand that the subject is meant to study the intricacies of religion. Everything from how a religion is developed all the way to how it affects the mindset of its church members. It gives us an in-depth look at the way that religion influences the political landscape, economics, and media in relation to interpersonal relationships. Those who study the sociology of religion will also have an opportunity to delve deeper into beliefs pertaining to religion being nothing but a cult or sect that wishes to influence the point of view of its church members when it comes to topics of racial, gender, or sexuality issues. This type of understanding then allows for a greater understanding and grasp of the way that religion functions as a part of a person's daily and way of life. There is a sense of importance when it comes to the study of the sociology of religion because of the way that humans have turned religion into an integral part of his life. As such, religion has become an all too important part of human society. Therefore, it is only logical that people will want to learn more about religion and how it functions within the parameters of a person's life of social group. By doing so, sociologists are also able to document the evolution of religion in terms of its relation to the way of life of a group of people. This then allows them to evaluate the mindset of people who are part of a religious group. In a way, the study of the social aspect of religion allows the experts to further understand how religion manages to carry such a serious influence within its circle of followers. By understanding how religion and religious beliefs work, experts hope to be able to deliver more accurate information about perceived religious conflicts that are happening across the world. A deeper understanding of religion and its differences then allows sociologists to better explain why certain religions find themselves in direct conflict with one another. However understanding the sociology of religion is only half the task. Until one fully understands and grasps the concept of the Rationale Theory in relation to the sociology of religion, one will not accurately be able to claim that he has a thorough understanding of religion in relation to social evolution. The Rational choice theory is highly important in the study of human society and social sciences because it helps to explain the actions of a person based upon his mental state. In simple terms, the Rational Choice Theory is all about making the best decisions based upon the individual needs of a person in relation to his personal beliefs and preferences (Satz, Debra & Ferejohn, John). Since the Rational Choice Theory is based upon the mental state of a person, it is safe to say that the theory has a psychological basis for existing as well. The Rational Choice Theory is a topic that is very new to the field of social sciences but has always been a staple in the study of economics. Perhaps it is because of the free will of the human being that a deeper study and understanding of the Rational Choice Theory became of the utmost importance to social scientists. After all, it is not easy to study human behavior, and even more difficult to try and discover the reasons for the actions and beliefs of human beings. By applying the rational choice theory to the study of the choices that man makes, we develop a deeper understanding of the factors that influence the decision process of man. By combining the sociological study of religion and the rational choice theory of man, one will hope to be able to come to a fully comprehensible understanding as to how man develops his criteria for the choices that he makes throughout his life. The two subjects, though seemingly unrelated directly study the psychological condition of a person when he is in a situation that requires him to make decisions. During such times, he normally turns to either religion or the rational choice theory in order to aid him in the decision making process. Works Cited Satz, Debra & Ferejohn, John. “Rational Choice and Social Theory”. The Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 91, No. 2 (Feb., 1994), pp. 71-87. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. “The Sociological Study of Religion”. Hartford Institute for Religion Research. n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. 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