Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thoughts on religion and doing sociology

Total Drek has posted a very thoughtful response to one of my earlier posts here. I encourage you to read it.

The larger question here is whether doing sociology of religion implies an assumption of no God/supernatural.


Drek said...

For the sake of curiosity: why does it matter?

I use figures of speech that imply a particular worldview about god and, indeed, our language is structured in a way that implicitly disadvantages an atheist's position (e.g. we're described as "not believing in god" as opposed to "not believing in the existence of a god") yet I don't think that matters very much in most cases. If you and I agree about how scientific investigations of religion should proceed (e.g. exclude supernatural causation) then does it matter what other assumptions we make about a hypothetical deity?

Obviously, I have the impression that it matters very much to you, I am just unclear precisely why.

Brad Wright said...

Hello Drek,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I would agree with you that our scientific investigations of religion can proceed equally regardless of starting assumption.

What prompted this was the passage from Stark's introduction that said otherwise. That got me curious as to whether I had missed something--an inherent problem in addressing the sociology of religion as someone who also professes faith.

Not sure that it matters a whole lot, but it's interesting to think about.