My lecture today is on the functions of religion. You know, this course for me it's, it, the topic is very exciting. The,the whole idea of souls, and, and afterlife of the souls. And beliefs about them. Is it's, it's novel topic. I think it's a really important topic. I don't think there is a course like this anywhere else in the world. So that's exciting. But it's also difficult. It, it represents a, a challenge because there's, unlike most of your other courses, there's no textbook to go to. There's no, okay, today we are reading chapter two, I'm going to talk about chapter two. There's nothing like that so in and in some respects we, we are making it up. The, the, the reasons it's a challenge is just it opens so many doors. So what door do we select me and Professor Hamilton. We are bringing in people who, who have their own doors that they open up because it represents their specialties. But, none of this course represents our specialties. They, we've been trained to do. I think both of us think that this course is so important, topic the topic is so important and so, so deeply profound that it's, it's, it's worth a go at it. So, functions of religion. There's the big one. The word religion is derived from the Latin word religare. I doubt that I pronounced that correctly, but it means to bind. Religion is derived from the word to bind, bind together. To me that was a big surprise. When I ran into it. And it's a, it's, it's a, it's a meaningful surprise. Now remember what we've done here in the past. I did a little dance up here, which was really pathetic. And, and I'd like to work on it and do it for you again, but not today. There's dancing with the early tribes. It's not one of these things that you go out for a couple of hours. They did it, you know, hour after hour after hour maybe with little breaks over, over several days. And the participants would, would be so exhausted and so exhilarated at the same time that they would frequently fall into trances. And in these trances they, they, they had a sense they were communicating with the local spirits, the, the local guiding agents. So everybody could do that and as they did that, they bound together. They were willing to, to, to die for their tribes, which was really, really important in those days because other tribes were, were vying for their territories. So there's this need for group cohesion. For territorial defense, and, and also to handle people who are free riders or freeloaders. You know, if you're not, if you're not involved with this group, then go away. And going away frequently I suspect in those days meant death. Because you needed to, to be involved with a tribe for protection. There we go, need to be a member of a tribe. Well, need to be a member of a tribe for your physical survival, all right? Because if you weren't a member of a tribe, you, you got, you know, out in the wilderness, you could either be attacked by an animal. Killed and eaten or you could be attacked by another tribe. But we're talking physical survival. But as evolution evolved, it secured a new level of social cohesion, that was further strengthened by what we talked about last time, the monotheistic perspective. That there is one god, and that god cares for you, looking after you. But is capable of getting quite angry with you if you don't obey his commands, or his commands as delivered to you and your group by a prophet. And fear of divine punishment in this life and its afterlife is enhanced by intertribal ties. An, and, it, I think it's some great value for group cohesion for people to believe, pretty much in the same thing. That, that there, there is a god, these, these are the rituals that are required to appease him, to bring our tribe's attention to him, and for us all, believers, to survive this life and go into an afterlife. So how do we learn how to become or be a member of a tribe? Think of your own experiences. To be a member of your tribe. And I'm thinking more restrictedly of a member of your family and maybe your extended family, and in larger ways, a member of your, your subculture. First of all, there's a lot of imitation. You just imitate what, what's going around you. The, the, behavior of the people. And as you imitate what other people were doing, you're taking it in and you're, you're, absorbing more than just what they're doing. You're absorbing their values their, their, points of view. Their w, world views talk a lot, maybe not today, about world views. World views are what get us through the day. World views i, i, is what makes you decide what, who to vote for. Tendency to, to vote for somebody who represents, is compatible, with your world views and with your values. But it's not only imitation. We are given instructions. Lots of instructions in the home. Lots of corrections of young kids. Kid, kids when they're, when, when they're born, aren't, aren't necessarily programmed to behave in a pic, particular way. They're malleable. And, and parents want to, to shape them, so that they're proper members of the family. want to shape them so, so, that, that they, they think about things the way the family does. They have goals, they have ambitions that are coincident with, with, with the family. And there's also something very important in terms of becoming a member and maintaining your membership in a social group. And that's initiation. Initiation is, is pretty interesting. I read in the paper, yesterday, I believe, that there are some students brought up on charges. I think it's in Binghamton College. And they, they, were charge with brutality in initiation of, for, new members. I think it was probably a fraternity. And guys would, would come home with all these scrapes and bruises and cuts and, and wounds that would not heal. And finally, parents say, what's going on? Well, it all had to do with initiation, initiation. And there's, each year there's a report of death at this university or that place or that club or that organization all based on initiation. Years gone by or back in the day, as they say, the initiations were not necessarily all that severe. I mean it was, you know, swallow a couple of minnows, you know, live minnows. And that was a, that was a pretty big deal. But even my father, when he was in college and being initiated into, I don't know, some fraternity, the stag club or something. He talked about, with great pride, all the welts that he had on his rear end. He even had the paddle. It was a huge paddle. I mean, well, not huge, but it, it was, it was heavy duty. He used to show it to me. And it had holes in it, so the, the, I guess the holes meant well, it couldn't kill you. Or, or, or maybe you, you could get a, a, a good, hard whack. But this wax led, led to welts. And that was as I said, for him, it was was prideful. Anybody up here that wants to join a street gang? Say that, the Crips. So you go to New York and say, I'd like to be a member of your group, please. >> [LAUGH] >> And you're, it's not likely anybody's going to say oh, welcome aboard. You're going to have to go very, through various trials. You're going to have to do. Well, one thing you might have to do. I hope there's no Crip here because I, you know, I'm just choosing you as an example. One of the things for some of these gangs that you'll have to, to undergo. It is to stand there, and have a couple guys just beat the crap out of you, boom, boom, boom. And then, after that, maybe go out and commit a crime. Perhaps go out and, and rape somebody with evidence that you did that. Now what, why, why did these these sort of mild initiations to very severe and, and, and scary initiations has to do with something that is frequently called cognitive dissonance. All right? You, you, you probably, even though you, many of you have not taken a college course in, in, in psychology. Maybe you've taken a course in in psychology in high school. This is a, should be a very familiar course if you've been exposed, I mean topic if you've been exposed to psychology. But what is cognitive dissonance? Well you are, you want to operate with a kind of a, a cognitive balance. You don't want to be set into a stage of cognitive imbalance. And if you want to join an organization. And that organization requires you to go through various kinds of, in some respects, painful events, or maybe it's as simple as, as memorizing several lines, or memorizing a poem. That's work. And when you have, go through that kind of initiation and you get into the group, you're, you're likely to feel as though this group, this is pretty doggone good. This is a good group, this is worthwhile. I'm glad I went through that because these people are wonderful. Well, you're forcing yourself to do that, because, to, to go through initiation, and finally get into this group you've admired from a distance, and then some, somewhat up close, you don't want to say oh, this group sucks. That wasn't worth it. You're not going to do that. Particularly if you have welts on your rear, rear end or, or, or your fist is bleeding, your arms are bleeding. You going to say, well, yes, it was worth it. So if you have to work to get in, into a group, then you want to balance that out by saying, well, this, this was really worth it, it was worthwhile doing, doing this. So, it's true with religions too, rituals. I mean if you, you, if your religion requires you to fast for several days, in part, I suspect, that enhances your commitment to the religion. To tithe, tithe, some religions require you to tithe 10% of, of, of your income. Well, the, the, the, if you tithe, you say well, this is probably really important. And in the end, I'm glad I tithe because I like to be bound with this group. I like to be part of this group. There's lot's of other examples of, of of, of, time. If you're involved in a religious group or any, any group, it may require some of your time. And time is money. Time spent on, on something. It better turn out to be of value to you. Be, be, be and if, as an expression of that value, is you like the people who are around you. You're like the people around you, who are operating with similar commitments. So advantages of being a member of a tribe, any tribe, particularly a religious tribe, include you're protected, protection, include sense of identity. Includes lots of other things, including feeling secure. Having a social structure there that supports you. That supports the, the, meaning that you make in your life because these other people have common meanings. It makes you, it makes you, feel good. Even though its work, it's nice to be surrounded by people who have common world views and common goals. You agree with me. I mean does this, is this, making any sense to you? I hope what you are doing. Is, is, is you're thinking about the groups you belong to. And how you recognize that that person wearing the scarf, for example, is part of your group. If you, okay, let's say your hometown, I'm sure this is probably not true of any of you, it's kind of true of me but not, not exact. Your hometown is Akron, Ohio. All right, and, and it, it's not really terribly meaningful. You, you don't go around preaching to people, oh, by the way, I'm from Akron, Ohio. Nobody gives a crap first of all, usually. But, but you here at a, you're at an event or people are introducing themselves and somebody says, oh, I was born and raised in Akro, Akron, Ohio. You go, yes. >> [LAUGH]. >> You got a connection there, Akron. Even if you hated Akron, you, you, you got a connection there. Or you, you, you hear somebody just inadvertently, they're, they're in a diner, and say I was, yeah, I was born May 23rd. May 23rd. May 23rd, that's your birthday. You feel a sense of connection with that person. It's like almost a, a divine wonderful thing. Your, your, your insides settle down. Even if that person turns out to be the most wicked person in the world, initially, you're attracted to that person because, why? Same birthday. You're in Canada. You just take a, a road trip to Canada. And you're, you're at a, a restaurant. And and, you're, you're getting your coffee and you're going to the bathroom. You come out, and there is a car in the parking lot from New Jersey. Sense of affinity. There's somebody here I can get along with, New Jersey. because they have the same license state that you did. Sense of identity, we're going to talk a fair amount about a sense of identity this afternoon. When you ask the question who am I. And, and I'm sure you ask yourself that question. One of my children, when they were in grammar school, was asked the question, who are you? And they were expecting her to say the name of a religion. They wanted to know who are you? She came up to me and asked me who I am. I said who asking that? Well, it's friends. And what, what they're asking her because it was important to them at that time was your religion. Most of them were Catholic and she hadn't, you know, taken a stand on anything. And, and, and if she had said, oh, I'm Catholic, then the conversation would go, well, well what church do you go to. [SOUND] You, you, they're searching for a connection with her. How do I deal, how, how can I handle you? What, what, what can we talk about, what do we have in common? The arrival of Protestantism and the weakening of ties that bind. That's going to be a major topic of today's class. The arrival of Protestantism and the weakening of the ties that bind. And we turn directly to Emile Durkheim. Emile Durkheim was really a, the, founder, one of the, maybe, some, some people say, well, he's the cofounder of a whole discipline called sociology. How'd you like to be a founder of, of, of a, of a whole discipline? That, that's, that, that's pretty incredible to be able to do that. He was a French sociologist in the late 19th century. I believe he was the, the, the, the son of a Rabbi. And he, obviously, he went off in a, in a different direction. What he found, and one thing that, eh, was, he's famous for is that there are more suicides in Europe in Protestant communities than in Catholic and Jew, Jewish communities, more suicides. Now, for a, somebody who generated a field of sociology, you can get a sense of how he went about doing this. The, he, he had to get the data. He had to get the census figures. He had to get information about how many people in this or that community committed suicide, and he, he recognized that there's a pattern there. That, that Protestants that lived in, in the various communities around Europe were much more likely to commit suicide. I mean, yeah, not, you know, like, in mass but, but much higher percentage of people than who lived in the Jewish communities or the Christian, mostly Catholic communities. Now, why would that be? He came up with the concept of anomie. Notice that that's in red, what does anomie mean? Anomie can be translated into language that I think you, you and I will understand. It's a sense of being alienated, alienated, not connected. On your own, reliant on your own resources. Lonely, lonely, alienated. Think of a time when you felt lonely. Think of a time when you've felt alienated, and you had a sense that nobody was there for you. All right? We've all, we've all had that.