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Peter Berger's heretical imperative - Essay Example

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According to Berger, pluralism presents the crisis into which modernity has exposed religion (Woodhead Heelas & Martin, 2001). Berger focuses on modernity and its implications on religion. The contemporary society is characterized by plurality of institutions, consciousness and choices, which yield uncertainty. According to Berger, pluralism is “a situation in which there is competition in the institutional ordering of comprehensive meanings of everyday life” (Oldmeadow, 2010, p.33). Because of uncertainty, there are unsteady, inconsistent and erratic plausibility structures, particularly those of religion. Berger argues that religion becomes a matter of choice, which he best refers to as a “heretical imperative” (heresy). According to Peter Berger, there are three contemporary responses to the crisis that modernity thrusts religion into, which include deduction, reduction as well as induction. Berger denounces deduction, which entails the reaffirmation of influence of a sacred ritual against secular authority (Esposito, Fasching & Lewis, 2011). He also rejects reductionism, which reinterprets a sacred ritual on the basis of secular authority. In rejecting the two responses, Berger supports the third approach, which is induction. His belief is that the crisis facing religion is a product of the sterile antithesis of neo-orthodoxy and secularism (Woodhead Heelas & Martin, 2001). He believes that by shunning both deductive and reductive approaches and adopting inductive approach, the crisis can be triumphed. Berger explores the relationship between human religion and world-building. The society is presented as dialectic because it is considered as a human invention. Man cannot exist without society and without man, society cannot exist. This exhibits the dialectic nature of the society. Berger argues that pluralism undermines stable belief (Berger, 1979). Pluralism is the cause of secularisation. According to Berger, the basic dialectic process of society entails three steps. These include externalisation, objectivation as well as internalisation. The three moments are crucial for effective comprehension of empirical dimension society. Externalisation refers to “the ongoing outpouring of human being into the world, both in the physical and the mental activity of men” (Berger, 1979, p. 4). Objectivation refers to the achievement by the products of man’s activity of an authenticity that faces its initial makers. Internalisation on the other hand, refers to men’s manipulation of reality, in which they change the reality into structures of objective and subjective consciousness. Externalisation is a prerequisite for anthropology. It deals with the biological development of man, where he interacts with extra-organic surrounding of both physical human worlds. Human being must create his own world. As such, the world-building activity does not qualify as a biological superfluous occurrence, but a direct product of man’s biological composure. Man creates his own world through biological means. This human world is characterized by uncertainty unlike animals’ world. Because humanly established structures tend to be unstable, man creates culture to ensure stable structure that cannot be attained biologically. However, culture needs to be progressively changed by man. The instability of cultural structures posses a significant challenge to man’ ...Show more
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Peter Berger’s “Heretical Imperative” Name: Institution: Course: Tutor: Date: Introduction Peter Berger is renowned sociologist who contributed greatly to the study of sociology of knowledge, religion and modernisation. Berger presents the impact of modernity on religion…
Peter Bergers heretical imperative
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