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AfaintcoldcupofTea..
25th September 2003, 06:18 AM
Having started to read this book, To Understand and Be Understood. The first page enraged me. It raised issues I found un-palatable especially, the religious undertones that seemed prevalent. It seemed to me, to suggest, that Sociology is religious based?

I would like to read your comments on this subject. And about the questions raised in the first page introduction, as written by the author Erik Blumenthal.


More and more people are beginning to realise that all is not well with the way in which we relate to each other. They are experiencing difficulties in their family relationships, in their closest friendships, and with their wider circle of acquaintances, both in tier private and working lives.

Scarcely a human being exists who lives a completely solitary life. Even in large cities, people who live alone have some contact with others on a regular basis, while most of us have extensive experiences of social relationships.
Why then does this experience serve us so poorly? Why was social historian Arnold Toynbee able to say that while we have developed dramatically in intellectual, scientific and technical spheres, our level of human relationship is much as it was 5000 years ago? People loved and hated in ancient Babylon much as they do today.

Although it appears that human beings have developed lopsidedly in this way, at the same time we have also developed the sciences which could assist us in our social relationships: psychology, sociology, politics and economics. And how does spirituality come into the picture, that important resource which, in all its various forms, includes among its concerns many rules and principles for social conduct.

Every major religion teaches about the love of god and love for a fellow human beings, and love is unsubtly a fundamental in ingredient in successful relationships.

What prevents us putting this knowledge into practise? To me there seems to be only one answer: our prejudices and we can only overcome these through a new understanding, an understanding of ourselves ad of others.


Extract taken from To Understand and Be Understood, a practical Guide to Successful Relationships. By Erik Blumenthal. ISBN 1-85168-137-x Oneworld oxford publishers. Originally published in German under the title Verstehen Rex-Verlag Munchen/Luzern 1977. Copyright under Berne Convention.

arcticpenguin
25th September 2003, 06:27 AM
I haven't read many socialogy books, but perhaps the book is at fault, not the entire field of study.

AfaintcoldcupofTea..
25th September 2003, 06:31 AM
Did I misspell sociology or did you?

AfaintcoldcupofTea..
25th September 2003, 06:35 AM
Interesting point, articpengin.

One author uses religious undertones while another may not. But, shouldn't all books related to Sociology, all be of the same basic structure?

Wouldn't this variance, lead to confusion and grey areas within Sociology?

ceo_esq
25th September 2003, 06:50 AM
Originally posted by AfaintcoldcupofTea..
Wouldn't this variance, lead to confusion and grey areas within Sociology? There's no shortage of variance, confusion and grey areas within many of the "soft" sciences - sociology, psychology, economics, linguistics and so forth. You might almost say it's part of the nature of those disciplines.

AfaintcoldcupofTea..
25th September 2003, 07:04 AM
Originally posted by ceo_esq
There's no shortage of variance, confusion and grey areas within many of the "soft" sciences - sociology, psychology, economics, linguistics and so forth. You might almost say it's part of the nature of those disciplines.

Then, how can they fall under science headings, if nothing is exact and is subjected to variants depending on the individuals involved?

Science is exact with set parameters. By your suggestion sociology linguistics, psychology and so forth, all fail.

Economics, I had thought was exact with set parameters to follow?

Why is it the nature of those disciplines?

Tormac
25th September 2003, 07:19 AM
I don't think that it is accurate to claim sociology is based on a particular religion, or religion in general.

But there are some over-laps on what sociology (or at least some sociologist's) goals are and some of the functions of religion in a culture.

Both at times, offer "rules" of "correct" human interaction, within a culture, and from culture to culture. That science in general tends to be descriptive of what is, and tries to codify natural behavior, while religion is often prescriptive, demanding that its laws are what should be, even if they are variance with actual human behavior is where the two usually split on a subject.

Sociology's relationship to religion is not as close as chemistry’s relationship to alchemy, but similar IMHO.

arcticpenguin
25th September 2003, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by AfaintcoldcupofTea..
Did I misspell sociology or did you?
Your spelling is correct.

Yahzi
25th September 2003, 01:28 PM
The passage you quoted is not necessarily religious. Spirituality is clearly an important human concern, if even there are no such things as spirits. Just as theology has a social effect even though there are no gods.

I can't speak for the rest of the book, but the sample you provided does not warrant your concern.

Gulliamo
25th September 2003, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by AfaintcoldcupofTea..


Then, how can they fall under science headings, if nothing is exact and is subjected to variants depending on the individuals involved?

Sociology is simply "the study of human social behavior,"

That is an enormously encompassing definition that could have hundreds of sub-fields, areas of expertise, areas of overlap, grey areas and misinterpretations. It in not an exact science.

Pyrian
25th September 2003, 02:00 PM
Religion is so widespread, I don't really see how you could have a significant sociological system of theories without attempting to encompass it.

Yahweh
25th September 2003, 04:32 PM
Is sociology religious based?
It depends, does sociology ask you to give up reason, does it ask you to empty your pockets for some "higher purpose", does it tell you "naughty thoughts are a sin"...

QuarkChild
25th September 2003, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by Pyrian
Religion is so widespread, I don't really see how you could have a significant sociological system of theories without attempting to encompass it.
"Attempting to encompass" [religion] is different than using the assumptions of religion as the assumptions of sociology; AfaintcoldcupofTea seems to be concerned about the latter. At least, that was my impression from the opening post.