If you are looking for BSOE-145 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Religion and Society, you have come to the right place. BSOE-145 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.
BSOE-145 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity
Assignment Code: BSOE-145/ASST/TMA/2021-22
Course Code: BSOE-145
Assignment Name: Religion and Society
Verification Status: Verified by Professor
Assignment - I
Answer the following Descriptive Category questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks. 2 x20=40
1. Discuss the Intellectual theories of religion.
Ans) Intellectual theories of religion are:
The Nature-Myth School
The German School, dealing with Indo-European religions. It established that ancient god were universally person infixations of natural phenomena. It main propounded was Max Miller who was a German linguist. He held that grand natural objects gave people a feeling of the infinite. At the same time these objects acted as symbols of the infinite. The celestial bodies, such as, moon, stars, dawn, and their attributes were thought of by the people in terms of metaphor and symbol.
Max Muller argued that with the passage of time the symbolic representations came to gain an independent identity of their own and became separated from that which they represented. The attributes or the symbols became personified as deities. According to Muller human beings and nature stand in a relationship of awe, wonderment, terror, etc. Early human beings could not understand or explain the world of nature. They ended up worshipping it out of fear and awe. Muller held that we could study the religion of early man by looking into linguistic etymological meaning of the name of gods and legends associated with them. Sometimes Max Muller and his followers reduced their theories to a farce. Because his interpretations could not be supported by historical evidence, his contemporaries brought many charges against the nature-myth school. Herbert Spencer, Edward Tylor, and Andrew Lang were the main critics of nature-myth theories. Not only did they criticise the philological and etymological approach to religion, but they also took an altogether different approach.
The Ghost Theory
Unlike Max Muller, who was concerned with Indo-European religions, both Herbert Spencer and Edward Tylor focused on religious behaviour of the primitives. They believed that primitive societies offered evidence of the earliest forms of religion. Their view on primitive beliefs is quite similar. Spencer published his views in 188, eleven years after Tylor published his book-Primitive Culture in 1871. Spencer’s views seem to have been independently worked out a long time before their publication. In a large part of his book, The Principles of Sociology, Spencer discusses primitive beliefs. He shows the primitives to be rational though with a limited quantum of knowledge. They make reasonable, though weak, inferences about natural phenomena. By observing sun, moon, clouds, and stars come and go, the primitives get the notion of visible and invisible conditions.
Similarly, they get the idea of person’s duality from dreams, which are considered as real life-experiences by the primitives. According to Spencer, the appearance of dead persons in dreams is taken by the primitives to be the evidence of temporary after life. This leads to the conception of a supernatural being in the form of a ghost. According to Spencer, the idea of ghosts grows into the idea gods and the ghosts of ancestors become divine beings. Spencer’s conclusion is that ‘ancestor worship is the root of every religion’. It is however obvious that Spencer is himself a victim of the false reasoning which he attributes to the primitives. Without ever going near the primitives, he builds his ideas about their way of reasoning. He is simply trying to think on behalf of the primitives.
However, we must keep in mind that early studies in the sociology of religion were instrumental in creating interest in the area of religion and of pushing the academic study of the same further.
2. Examine the functional school to the study of religion.
Ans) The first recognized scholar of functionalism, considered a pioneer of the study of religion is of course Emile Durkheim with his classic work: Elementary forms of Religious Life. He began as an evolutionist by defining religion in terms of the division between the sacred and the profane, and the much greater power of the Sacred as compared to that of the profane. According to Durkheim, the very power of the Sacred derives from its ‘non-rational’ nature. To be rational is to be able to question and doubt; but the nature of the sacred, set apart and powerful, negates all attempts at rationalization and demands blind acceptance and faith. We may refer to Leibniz, according to whom, there are three distinct functions of reason: to comprehend, to prove and to answer objections. In the faith/reason controversy, Leibniz thought that the third function is more important, but the other two are also matters of consideration. Thus, faith must not try to comprehend, to prove and raise questions, thus by disabling all these functions its power lies in being above them.
However, the real power of the sacred lies in that it represents society or the social bonding that makes society possible. Whatever is good for social solidarity and continuity is presented as the moral, and the society can survive as a ‘moral community’; where all moral rules that are believed to be derived from the supernatural are derived from society itself. As Durkheim put it, God is nothing but society writ large. Although the sacred is powerful and set aside, yet it is not too far from the human self, so that people feel that they too share the sacred as something inherent in them and therefore to be moral is inherent in being human. Society is thus able to reproduce itself as a moral community without too much requirement of external sanctions. For example, in the totemic community the persons belonging to a totemic clan also know that they are descended from and related to the sacred totem, so they too carry a share of the sacredness within them that is also reinforced through the community totemic rituals. The power of the totem is felt collectively and creates an emotional bonding and sense of obligation towards the community as well as towards the totem. The totem is in the last analysis the symbol of the social group and its sacredness the sacredness of the social group itself. Similar sentiments are evoked during a Catholic Mass when the congregation imbibes in themselves the sacred blood and body of Christ, thereby internalizing and becoming one with the sacred, the community and the collectively, namely the Church.
Religious rituals and beliefs make life liveable by providing explanations where none are forthcoming through knowledge and logic, like an unforeseen illness, or an unfortunate accident. Thus, when people are on the edge of despair it is only religion that provides the answer or the solace to calm a person down. Religion also provides answers for the problem of suffering that is universal. It does not take away suffering but provides a rationale that makes suffering bearable. Like for example, the Bible tells that it is not a curse to be poor as the doors of heaven open more easily for the poor than for the rich. A suffering Hindu will look for explanation in his or her Karma and a Muslim in the will of Allah and both will find solace in the fact that suffering was inevitable and must be borne stoically.
Assignment – II
Answer the following Middle Category questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks. 3 X 10 = 30
3. Discuss the theological and metaphysical bases of Hinduism.
Ans) Hinduism is followed by a vast majority of Indian population (more than 80%). However, Hinduism is not confined to India only. The followers of Hinduism, the Hindus, spread over to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Indonesia, East and South Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Guyana, Fiji, U.K., U.S.A., and Canada and in many other countries of the globe to a lesser extent. Hinduism is an embodiment of a vast body of literature. M.N. Srinivas and A.M. Shah point out that the doctrines of Hinduism are not embodied in one sacred book, nor does Hinduism have a single historical founder. There is a vast body of sacred literature of Hinduism. These are the Vedas, Brahmanas, Upanishads, Vendanges, Dharmashastras, Niboudhas, Puranas, Itihasas, Darsanas, Aganas, Mahabharata, etc. There are, not one, but innumerable gods, and it is not essential to believe in the essence of god in order to be a Hindu. This facet of Hinduism keeps it tolerant and open to dissent from within or without. Hence there are diverse interactions between the theological or metaphysical and the local levels of Hinduism in practice.
We should recognise that it is very difficult to define Hinduism. Hinduism unites a diverse element of beliefs and practices into a continuous whole. It covers the whole of life. It has religious, social, economic, literary, and artistic aspects. Hinduism, thus, resists a precise definition, but a common code of characteristics that most Hindus share can be identified. Hinduism is the oldest of all great religions of the world. In the process of social evolution and change various sects have developed in Hinduism. Each of the sects has distinctive sets of literatures, Gods and Goddesses. However, fundamental to all Hindu sects is a set of eternal belief systems cantered around the Hindu concepts of Brahman and Atman, Dharma, Karma, Artha, Moksha and the ideas of purity and pollution.
4. Discuss the social order in Christianity.
Ans) The social order of Christianity is as follows:
The fundamental principle of the ideal society according to Jesus is the idea of universal brotherhood. But just as the justification and motive for the ideal conduct stem from the desire to please and fulfil the will of God, the basis of universal brotherhood is also the love of God. The idea that the love of man is flown from the love of God was made clear by Jesus when he was answering a question by a Jewish jurist.
A second important principle of the Christian social order is the egalitarian outlook. The Christian church brought together people from different races, cultures and classes and forged a new spirit of coherence, unity, and equality among them. Paul, the most prominent among the organisers of the early church emphasised, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’. The early Christians who were liberated from the fetters of their former communities, addressed one another brothers and sisters, shared their provisions or contributed their income generously for common use and formed themselves into an egalitarian community.
Service of Underprivileged
Yet another major principle of the ideal society according to Christ’s teaching is the concern and commitment for the service of the underprivileged. During his lifetime as man, Jesus showed great compassion for people in distress. Exhorting his followers to do likewise, he pointed out that the heavenly king namely God, would reward those who took care of the poor, the strangers and the oppressed. Acts of kindness done to such people were equivalent to showing kindness to God Himself.
5. Examine the development of Sikhism.
Ans) The development of Sikhism:
Sikhism is rooted in a particular religious experience, piety, and culture and informed by a unique inner revelation of its founder, Guru Nanak. It evolved in response to three main elements. The first of these was the ideology based on religious and cultural innovations of Guru Nanak and his nine successors. The second was the rural base of the Punjabi society. The third significant element was the period of Punjab history. All three elements combined to produce the mutual interaction between ideology and environment in the historical development of Sikhism. During the period of the ten Gurus, three key events took place in the evolution of Sikhism. The first was the establishment of the first Sikh community at Kartarpur in west Punjab during the last two decades of Guru Nanak's life. To ensure its survival, Guru Nanak formally appointed a successor before he passed away in 1539. Thus, a lineage was established, and a legitimate succession was maintained intact from the appointment of the second Guru, Angad, to the death of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and the last Guru of the Sikhs.
The inauguration of the Khalsa was the culmination of the canonical period of the development of Sikhism. The most visible symbols of Sikhism known as the Five Ks—namely uncut hair, a wrist ring, a short sword, a comb for the topknot, and breeches—are mandatory to the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh terminated the line of personal Gurus before he passed away in 1708 and installed the Adi Granth as Guru Eternal for the This Sikh girl lives in a large settlement of American Sikhs in New Mexico. The Sikh Gurus were ahead of their time on issues of gender equality. As early as the sixteenth century, women were granted equal rights to conduct prayers and other religious ceremonies. Thereafter, the authority of the Guru was to vest in the scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, and the corporate community itself.
Assignment – III
Answer the following Short Category questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks. 5 X 6 = 30
6. Distinguish between religion and magic.
Ans) Religion and magic reveal many similarities. Both deal with unobservable powers. They operate only based on faith of the adherent or believer. Both religion and magic can be explained as human attempts to cope with fears, frustrations, and uncertainties of day-to-day life. Religion refers to ultimate problems and meaning of human existence, whereas magic is concerned more with immediate problem like control of weather, drought, victory in battle, prevention of disease. Within religion, one prays to gods and pleads with them, whereas in magic, the magical manipulates the supernatural power. Religion makes a person believes in the power of the supernatural. On the contrary, in magical practices, the adherent believes in the own power to manipulate the power of the supernatural. It needs to be pointed out that religion and magic are not completely distinct.
7. What is eschatology?
Ans) Beliefs about the after-world and the destination of the soul are again varying and important components of cosmology. Some like the Saoras do not have any belief in death as it is known in other culture. They simply believe that people pass from one world to another, and there is free mobility between the two worlds. Others may believe that the soul remains in repose to rise finally at the end of time like the Christians. The Hindus and Buddhists believe in transmigration of the soul from one body to another, including into all life forms other than humans. Some believe in heaven and hell, and some do not. Eschatology is closely related to the perception of time. Those that believe in linear, historical time like Judaism and Christianity, apply the same to the destination of the soul, while cyclical time supports notions of rebirth and transmigration.
8. What is fundamentalism?
Ans) Fundamentalism stresses the infallibility of a scripture in all matters of faith and doctrine. The believer accepts it as a literal historical record. The result is that a militant stand is taken by the followers; often preceded or followed by a desire for a separate homeland. At times, this too is taken as a prophecy in the scriptures. Fundamentalism thus separates a certain community from the mainstream. However, society, by its various arms, attempts to suppress or eliminate the fundamentalists. This is especially so when they begin acting outside of the law. Communalism is associated with eruption of violence and riots; these conflagrations may not have any aim or goal). Fundamentalism however is an organised all-encompassing movement which aims at promotion of societal goals specifically in the light of religious enshrinements.
9. What is the value of secularism?
Ans) Secularism is the principle of seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular, naturalistic considerations. It is most commonly defined as the separation of religion from civic affairs and the state and may be broadened to a similar position concerning the need to remove or minimalize the role of religion in any public sphere. The term has a broad range of meanings, and in the most schematic, may encapsulate any stance that promotes the secular in any given context. It may connote anticlericalism, atheism, naturalism, or removal of religious symbols from public institutions. As a philosophy, secularism seeks to interpret life based on principles derived solely from the material world, without recourse to religion. It shifts the focus from religion towards "temporal" and material concerns.
10. What is civil religion?
Ans) "The religious or quasi-religious reverence for particular civic principles and traditions seen recurrently in the history of political states," according to the definition of civil religion. For example, every year on August 15th, our Prime Minister unfurls the National Flag on the ancient Red Fort in Delhi to commemorate our country's independence. Another example is the Republic Day Parade, which takes place every year on January 26th. A semi-religious ardour pervades this festivity as well. It serves to strengthen Indian citizens' feeling of national and political identity.
It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by our leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, and others, in the fight for our independence.
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