chapter  14
Religion and meaning
Pages 8

Max Weber, as we have seen, saw religion as essentially providing theodicies of good and bad fortune. While this is in many respects more of a psychological than sociological approach, Weber’s integration of this insight which in itself integrates both intellectualist and emotionalist elements, with an eminently sociological analysis of the interrelationships between beliefs and social groups makes him one of the forerunners of those who have attempted to synthesise the insights of previous theoretical approaches. Among these one of the most influential has been Peter Berger who, like Weber, finds in religion the main source from which people have through the ages sought to construct a sense of meaning in their existence. A slightly earlier and important contribution, however, which similarly emphasises meaning, is that of Clifford Geertz.