The perseverance of the sacred



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The purpose of this thesis is primarily concerned with arguing for the persistence of religious beliefs and symbols in a so-called "secularized" society. It takes issue with the secularization-desacralization theme which purports that modern man is no longer religious, and that the sacred is supposedly relegated to man's primordial past. The position is taken that the secularization theory makes certain reductionistic assumptions about the nature and content of religious symbols and beliefs and therefore, determines the outcome or conclusions of the theory beforehand. In addition, this thesis attempts to fuse certain ideas and conceptualizations of the sacred which approach the subject from a nonreductionistic base. It is proposed that a merger of Robert Bellah's "symbolic realism" and the sociology of knowledge constitutes a viable approach to the sociological study of religion that is free from reductionistic assumptions.



Religious belief