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MSOE-003: Sociology of Religion

MSOE-003: Sociology of Religion

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for MSOE-003 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Sociology of Religion, you have come to the right place. MSOE-003 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MSO courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MSOE-003/AST/TMA/2022-2023

Course Code: MSOE-003

Assignment Name: Sociology of Religion

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer any five questions selecting at least two from each Section. Your answer should be in about 500 words each.




Q1) Describe and discuss the sociological perspective on religion.

Ans) Both preliterate and literate communities were influenced by religion as a social force. Early methods of recalling its teachings and practises of worship included hymns and poetic expressions that might be sung, sometimes in groups. These enhanced the appeal of religious acts. A few storytellers could use the Hari Katha to create some dramatic effects. The spiritual songs of Nanak and Kabir were effectively utilised. Shruti and Smriti traditions originated in the ancient era.


Life was closer to nature. These compositions focus on nature and its elemental energies, the Greeks, and Indian Thinkers even elevated nature to the status of deity. As the Kshatriya lineages revealed their ancestry, groups of people started to associate themselves with the Sun, Moon, and Fire. Animals like the Crow, the Eagle, and the Kangaroo were mentioned in tribal literature, and tribes in India utilised the Snake as a totem animal. Deer, lions, etc. The totem symbolised or personified the clan. Places like rivers, hills, and mountains were elevated to the same dignity as water, air, earth, and fire. We therefore have a Kailash Parvat, the holy Ganga, and lakes with spiritual significance. Numerous songs and tales have been created in adoration of these locations.


The major Indian epics are variously referred to as the tale of Rama or Krishna, with the concepts of good and evil, kindness and cruelty, saints and devils being vividly represented. Great literary styles are used in the composition of books that capture the essence of devotion and the majesty of God. There seems to be a religious component to almost everything that is worth understanding, keeping, and passing down from generation to generation. Even conversations between the brightest minds centre on the text's true significance and meaning. It is therefore expected that the first formal educational institutions were mission schools, madarsas, or ashram seminaries, and that the intellectuals working on diverse branches of knowledge and their applications came from these institutions.

Recallable information, written and later published texts become popular. In and through these institutions, grammar of numerous languages, expression styles, and scientific principles were established. Things worth understanding about people, nature, and the supernatural all fell under the umbrella of religion, if one may use that term, for early man, both preliterate and literate. In this view, distinct social classes, the concept of civic responsibility, and links between time, location, and individuals were also described. According to Durkheim, religion served as the soul of society and was omnipresent. Participation in group activities produced a sense of community and a force distinct from that of independent efforts.


With an increase in the division of labour and specialisations, the process of learning as well as life itself started to grow along numerous dimensions. We are all aware of the same things when it comes to technical and technological issues, including their proliferation into academic endeavours dealing with various fields, branches, and sub-branches. Currently, religion is no longer the defining characteristic of knowledge. Higher education institutions and technical skill centres may expand outside the missionary community. When this occurs, not only does religion's teaching and practise become specialised, but religion itself does as well.

Q2) Discuss the elements of soul and sacrifice in religious beliefs.

Ans) Tylor, who linked the belief in the soul to the beginning of religion, introduced the idea of the soul into social theory. The so-called primal idea of the soul was thought to be rather dissimilar from the western idea of the soul. In the past, people believed in a dual body system that included a physical body and a shadow self. Tylor thought it to be the reason the human body was animated, hence the term Animism for this early type of religion.


This belief in the soul gave rise to a number of related notions, including those of an afterlife, heaven and hell, the soul's ability to move between different bodies, and its ability to move between births. Almost usually, people believed that the soul was immortal and moved on to another body or realm. The soul was occasionally thought of as a power, the soul-stuff that dwelt in a particular body part, such as the brain or the naval. In actuality, the enchantment of the head is what gave rise to the practise of head hunting. It was thought that one could take control of someone else's head and have access to their soul's power. The more heads a warrior sought, the stronger he would eventually become.


All religions place a high value on the idea of sacrifice. The word sacrifice can be used to refer to either giving something up or depriving oneself, or to making an offering to the gods. Of course, there may be many situations when they are similar to the well-known biblical account of Abraham, in which he is compelled to offer his own son as an offering to God. This tale is still practised in Islam as part of the Bakra rite, which involves offering a goat or other domesticated animal as a sacrifice to the gods.

In relation to the idea of the soul, blood sacrifice is seen as a way to free the soul from the body so that it can ascend to the god to which it is presented, rather than as a means of killing. In many cultures, a sign is also anticipated to determine whether the animal is agreeable to the deity; if one does not materialise, the animal may be freed. Frequently, the sacrifice of an animal represents the sacrifice of a person, whereas the sacrifice of a fruit or vegetable represents the sacrifice of an animal. Making an offering of something valuable and precious is intended to appease a deity.


The Hindu concept of tyaag, which can be understood as renunciation or disengagement from something, offers another interpretation of sacrifice. It is also possible to regard giving up something temporarily, such as sexual abstinence or fasting, as a form of sacrifice. The same concept applies here, which is to offer something to the deity or to imbue oneself with divinity through the cleansing process that such sacrifice entails. Such abstinence may come before a more significant ritual or devotion, as pilgrims frequently do, such as those who travel to Mecca or the Sabarimalai forest temple in Kerala.


Q3) What is the “okka”? Discuss with examples.

Ans) The foundational element of Coorg civilization is the Okka. The combined family is patrilocal and patrilineal. With regard to the right ancestral estate, only male members are entitled. Similar to that, the Okka can only be continued by the son. When a woman marries, her natal Okka no longer counts her as a member. The rights of women who joined their conjugal Okka are not any different than those of other members. They may, however, wed the younger brother of their husband and continue to be members of either their conjugal or natal Okka.


The Coorgs separate the sexes. The outer verandah may serve as a club for meh only, with the woman hosting guests in the kitchen or another interior space. Women observe males performing and dancing while they celebrate the harvest and the village deities. The best qualities for men include power, fighting and hunting prowess, and bravery. A man receives the honour of the mangala ceremony for killing a tiger or panther.


A saying states that men should perish in battle and women should perish in childbirth. Coorg men oversee the land's cultivation while low caste labourers perform the majority of the labour on the fields. The Coorg are more drawn to the army. With the probable exception of the matrilineal Taravad of the Nayars and the patrilineal llam of the Nambudris, the Coorg Okka appears to be stronger and more sharply structured than the joint family in South India. The Village and Nad are other Coorg territorial groups. In Coorg, there are 35 Nads and Kombus.


Every culture has a body of rituals, and the ritual acts that make up that body of rituals frequently repeat themselves. Now, not only ritual acts but also ritual complexes, which are wholes made up of several individual acts, frequently repeat themselves. A few of such ritual complexes and a few individual ritual acts may be combined to form an even larger ritual whole that occasionally repeats itself.


For instance, giving a salutation is a personal ritual. There are two possible types: simple and elaborate. If the two people involved are equals, a man may fold his hands across his chest and utter the Namaskar in the simple ritual acts. During a complex traditional salutation. The male might get on all fours, touch an elderly person's feet, and raise his hands to his forehead at least once. When in front of a deity, one may kneel down to touch the ground and raise their hand three times to their forehead. A sophisticated form of salutation is just one of several ceremonial acts in the murta's ritual complex that also includes mangala.





Q1) Explain phenomenology of religion with special reference to Peter Bergers’ view.

Ans) By putting out the notion of a sacred cosmos, Berger provides a meaningful definition of religion: "Religion is the human activity by which a holy cosmos is established. Or to put it another way, religion is cosmization done in a sacred way. According to Berger, this term is inherited from the works of Rodolf Otto and Mircea Eliade. Although Berger makes reference to Durkheim's distinction, he makes it plain that the idea of the sacred he utilises comes from the works of Otto's religious professors. For him, the term "holy" describes a characteristic of enigmatic power. It is unrelated to humans while also being distinct from them. The trait of sacredness is assigned to people, natural phenomena, and things that humans have created because it exists in the objects of human experience. There are sacred places, sacred moments, sacred tools, sacred attire, and many more things.


Like Durkheim, Berger believes that religious endeavours are fundamentally characterised by the division of reality into sacred and profane worlds, whatever how closely related they may be. The term "profane" is defined negatively as the opposite of "sacred" or "having no status as sacred." The notion of profane includes the concept of leftovers: what is not sacred is profane. It should be highlighted that for Durkheim, the activities of daily life are considered profane, but they have the potential to become sacred if they acquire remarkable capabilities. The inverse is also true: sacred items could lose their significance and became mundane. According to Durkheim, conscience collectives have historically projected holiness onto items. Berger has offered several arguments against his original claim that modernity weakened religion. He has demonstrated that despite the rise of modernity, science and technology, capitalism, and logical thought, religion has persisted as a powerful force that captures people's imagination and ways of life.


He has provided the following justifications for downgrading his faith in the secularisation thesis:

  1. Evangelical and conservative churches are expanding in number in the United States of America.

  2. The number of liberal churches is declining.

  3. Other Western societies continue to be interested in religion.

  4. In some regions of the world, religion is still very active.


Berger has successfully defended his theory for all these years, despite receiving criticism for his belief that religion is experiencing a rebirth throughout the world. The main point of contention has been that while some people believe that modernity and secularisation are inextricably linked that is, that modernisation causes religion's influence over society to wane others are sceptical of this idea.


The fact that Americans continue to attend church and frequently express their traditional values sets them apart from Europeans. Nearly 40 million of them identify as "born-again Christians." These things are not present in Europe, yet even here, where church attendance has decreased and individuals no longer profess their official creed, churches continue to play a significant role in society. Grace Davie refers to this situation as "belonging without believing."


Q2) Discuss the main features of communalism and fundamentalism.

Ans) Fundamentalism is not a single entity, there are enough aspects that are shared for us to attempt to characterise it. It is also not limited to any particular religion; it is present among Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs, though its strength among these groups varies due to historical factors such as time and place, as well as the development and structure of many religions.


The fundamentalists first argue for a return to a religion's core beliefs, to the original definitions and interpretations provided to a religion at the time of its founding in its earliest documents. Furthermore, these texts must be applied, executed, or comprehended literally. Their meanings are not to be interpreted or subject to discussion. Therefore, any subsequent exegesis, interpretations, advancements, etc., are to be disregarded and erased.


The writings' meaning must be distinct, unmistakable, and unchanging because they are believed to be God's own genuine words. Second, fundamentalists contend that the authentic, revealed religion as found in the original texts should regulate all facets and spheres of life. God's words and law should serve as the cornerstone of a believer's entire domestic and personal life as well as of society, the economy, polity, culture, and the law.



In India, communalism emerged in three stages, each of which had its own definition before blending into the subsequent stage. The idea that followers of a certain religion in all of India share interests in politics, the economy, society, and culture as well as their religion led to the development of communalism in the last quarter of the 19th century. This perspective gave rise to the idea that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians constitute different groups in India and that these communities constitute India or the Indian country.


These groups have their own leaders, such as Muslim and Hindu leaders, who stand up for and protect the interests of their own groups. Unfortunately, a lot of nationalists adopted and started using the nomenclature of communities based on religion, even though they did not agree with the communities' fundamental communal beliefs. As a result, they discussed and wrote about the Hindu, Muslim, and other communities. Beginning in the early 20th century, communalism had a second phase as communalism proper emerged.


The communalists now asserted that adherents of one religion have interests distinct from those of adherents of other religions; in other words, many of the economic and political interests of adherents of various religions diverge and are occasionally at odds with one another as a result of their affiliation with various religions. The communalists concurred that, while practising diverse religions, Indians share a variety of political and economic interests, particularly in regard to the colonial powers.


Third-stage communalists maintained that the secular interests of different religions' adherents were not merely diametrically opposed, but also wholly antagonistic. What was beneficial for Muslims was terrible for Hindus, and the opposite was true for Hindus and vice versa. There was nothing in life that could have brought Hindus and Muslims together to build a single nation or allow them to coexist as equals and fellow citizens.

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