By Stephen Sharot
After introducing the book's significant subject matters, the amount introduces and builds upon an research of Weber's version of spiritual motion, drawing on Durkheim, Marxist students, and the paintings of up to date sociologists and anthropolgists. the next chapters each one specialize in significant spiritual cultures, together with Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, and the religions of China and Japan. This bold venture is the 1st to provide a comparability of the preferred, or people, kinds of faith round the world.
Sharot's obtainable introductions to every of the realm religions, synthesizing an enormous literature on renowned faith from sociology, anthropology, and historians of faith, make the venture perfect for path use. His comparative technique and unique analyses will end up lucrative even for specialists on all the international religions.
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Additional resources for A Comparative Sociology of World Religions: Virtuosi, Priests, and Popular Religion
For example, although particular Catholics may say they are participating in the ritual of the mass as part of their endeavors to achieve salvation, their actual motive may be to impress on others their religious piety and thereby gain recognition and status in the community. Actors may perform a religious action simply because other members of the community expect it of them and because failure to perform it may invite sanctions. Of course, religious action motivated by status seeking or simple conformity can still be said to be goal directed, but the relative importance of such motives in any particular group or community is difficult to discover, especially when actors do not wish to acknowledge them or are unaware of them.
Certain paths to salvation, if delineated in a general way, are common to both Western and Eastern religions: ritualism, good works, dependence on a savior, and sanctification. The particulars of such common paths, however, vary enormously. For example, the system of rituals is far more comprehensive in Hinduism than it is in Catholicism, a comparatively ritualistic form of Christianity. Saviors descend from higher spheres to earth in most of the world religions, but they differ in many respects: what they save humans from (bad spirits, a sinful world, individual sin); the means they use to do so (intercession with a god, battles with demons, dying in order to atone for the sins of humans); and the number of times they appear (once, several times, or in every generation).
The production of rice cannot be separated from their Buddhism because it enables them to make religious merit by, for example, giving gifts of food to the Buddhist monks. ”32 It should be noted that Tambiah’s distinction between the instrumental and the performative is not a distinction between goal orientation and non–goal orientation. The intention to increase the rice harvest is a goal, and the expression of the value of rice in the ritual is part of a hierarchy of goals: by giving rice as gifts to Buddhist monks, actors earn merit that contributes to a good rebirth, which in turn is a stage in the long path to ultimate salvation.