A systems theory of religion by Niklas Luhmann

By Niklas Luhmann

A structures concept of Religion, nonetheless unfinished at Niklas Luhmann's loss of life in 1998, used to be first released in German years later because of the editorial paintings of André Kieserling. one in all Luhmann's most crucial initiatives, it exemplifies his later paintings whereas redefining the subject material of the sociology of faith. faith, for Luhmann, is likely one of the many functionally differentiated social structures that make up smooth society. All such subsystems consist solely of communications and all are "autopoietic," that's to claim, self-organizing and self-generating. the following, Luhmann explains how faith offers a code for dealing with the complexity, opacity, and uncontrollability of our international. faith features to make convinced the indefinite, to reconcile the immanent and the transcendent.

Synthesizing techniques as disparate because the philosophy of language, old linguistics, deconstruction, and formal structures theory/cybernetics, A structures idea of Religion takes on vital themes that variety from religion's that means and evolution to secularization, turning a long time of sociological assumptions on their head. It offers us with a clean vocabulary and a clean philosophical and sociological method of one in every of society's so much basic phenomena.

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Sample text

Religious Organizations 7. The Evolution of Religion 8. Secularization 9. Self-Description Notes Index Editor’s Note Niklas Luhmann’s work on this book, which he began in the early 1990s, was interrupted by illness and finally by his death. 1 The time remaining to him did not suffice to put the text presented here into a form that would he would have found compelling. Attached to the manuscript were references to more recent literature he wanted to follow up on, as well as brief notes on additional aspects of the topic, letting us know that the text was supposed to be longer.

But the risk of a religious communication claiming it is meaningful cannot be effectively eliminated, because that risk lies in the temporal dimension, not the factual one. The stabilizing of religion in textual form opens up a domain of sensitivity that can also be used against religion. After these initial considerations, it should no longer need to be explained that religion has to be sought in the forms of the medium of meaning. But this still does not explain which distinctions specify religion (compared to the rest of the world), and what will enable religion to reject what is “meaningless” and build bridges to a meaningful life.

Those systems are then able to be drawn into more complex, temporally unstable environments. Once directed toward environments, they do not stay attached to them—which is only a different way of formulating their differentiation and operative autonomy. The unity of the medium (as a unity of loose and fixed coupling) therefore displays itself temporally. In addition, the actualization (including reactualization) of forms serves to reproduce a medial substrate. Words are always remembered when used often enough, thus signifying with sentences the same (and different) things time after time.

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