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UG RE 207 Weakness of Max Weber Theory Discussion

UG RE 207 Weakness of Max Weber Theory Discussion

UG RE 207 Weakness of Max Weber Theory Discussion

Question Description

I’m working on a writing discussion question and need support to help me learn.

Discussion 2:

To conclude, let’s reflect on the cogency of these functional theories. At the risk of simplifying a little, scholarship has received these theories more warmly than theories of origins; academics have found limited plausibility in the arguments of Marx, Durkheim and Weber. Their theories can explain how under some conditions, religion can function to exploit people; can reinforce or sanction social conduct; and can facilitate rationalization. But religion does not always or necessarily do these things. Human experience being as varied as it is, we probably should not expect it! Theories which reduce religion to one of these functions are over-reaching themselves and reducing the complexity of religions.

Picking one of the three theories, suggest a strength or weakness of it, perhaps from your knowledge of a particular religion, or an analogy or logic or experience. Outline your thoughts in no more than 200 words.

Here is an example. I consider a potential weakness in Durkheim’s theory as its inability to account for religious experiences that are decidedly individual. Take so-called mystical experiences, the experiences of intense, personal communion with a supernatural force (such as those recorded by Christian mystics Julian of Norwich or Meister Eckhart, or by the Sufi writer Rumi). How could society generate mystical experiences? To ascribe social origins to such an individual experience seems odd. Whether or not mystics really commune with supernatural forces is not the point. The point is this: how could individuals who claim visions of the divine, many of whom spent their lives in isolation from larger communities, have been conditioned by communities to have such visions?

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