Science in Christian Perspective



  Theoretical Consideration of the
of Religion
Russell Heddendorf, M.A.

From JASA 10 (September 1958): 2-11.

Some Theoretical and Methodological Considerations

In recent years, attempts to study the function of religion have been centered in analyses of the social relations of man in the religious sphere. Such studies have emphasized the normative aspect of religion as an important integrating factor in the society. This view has a wide spread theological support as well as strong theoretical foundation in Durkheim's emphasis of the integrating function of religion. The attempt to more firmly establish this position has resulted in considerable studies concerned with church membership, church and parish relations, and the effect of religion on other spheres of social living. As methods of quantitative research have developed, the area of religion has been looked upon as a useful field for the employment of such methods.

It may be legitimately asked whether religious activity is basically composed of man-to-man relations. Historically, at least, some of the most important religious behavior in society has had an emphasis on "man-to-God" relations. Is it not possible that the chief function of religion lies in this area of behavior? For the methodologist to leave those superempirical considerations to the theologian because he is not a metaphysician is to omit some of the theoretical implications of the study of religion.

Simply then, the theoretical significance of the study of religion has been that it is a necessary aid for the understanding of social relations. This view has been partially supported by the development of current methodological emphases which consider the field of religion to be composed of predictive, controllable phenomena. It will be suggested in this paper, however, that the theoretical importance of the sociological study of religion is that it allows for the study of a form of deviancy and non-social behavior. It will also be indicated that religious behavior is largely directed toward the superempirical implying that it should have a certain theoretical use in the study of unanticipated consequences. Since the superempirical nature of religious phenomena cannot, at present, be adequately studied by quantitative means, the analysis will proceed with the use of historical data.

This paper is the second in a proposed series con cerned with the function of religion, particularly as it is found in contemporary American Protestantism. This present study is based on a previous paper which reconceptualized the concept of the function of religion. It would seem necessary, therefore, to review some of the conclusions given at that time.

This previous study was centered in Durkheim's concepts of sacred beliefs, rites, and structure, as found in "The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life." In the paper, sacred is conceived as referring to that phenomena in the world which contains the best, least knowable objects. This division is in the form of a continuum in which the highest types of sacred item approaches perfection and the characteristic of being empirically unknown.1 It is understood that beliefs refer to those myths and dogma which describe the opinion of a group about the knowable, superior aspects of nature, man, and society. Rites is conceived as referring to those normative ways of acting which vary with the type of sacred objects to which they are oriented. The use of the concept of structure by Durkheim refers only to some relationship of those units which are common or less easily identifiable, such as social awareness.

Durkheim's thesis is that the function of religion is to provide for social interaction through religious rites, allowing for the integration of social units. It is implicit, however, that religion provides for social integration only when there is a certain amount of social awareness. What is the function of religion when there is no "assembling of society"? The reason for the existence of religion in a society would have to consider this question.

The view taken in this previous paper was that religion had the function of relating to that part of the sacred which most closely approximates the unknown and changeless. Durkheim hints at this view when he states that it is the object of religious ideas and practices to explain the world.2 Obviously, there are other complexes of society such as science which are more specialized at explaining some knowable areas of the world. As long as religion reaches to these areas, it will lose its function to the other social complexes as it comes into conflict with them.

By relating to the unknown, religion must do it in an experiential rather than an empirical manner.

Basically, such a relationship should exist only by the use of empirically irrational beliefs and actions. To the extent that a particular group experiences these irrationalities, there will be unity and order because of the delimitation of possible choices available to the group. The universal acceptance of norms controlling the choice of superempirical ends would eliminate group conflicts arising from differences in the individual abilities to make rational choices. These beliefs and norms, therefore, gain an experiential rationality which provides reason for the choice of superempirical ends. It is conceivable that a consequence of religion will be the development of social unity. This does not imply, however, that such a resulting unity is a manifest function of religion. It would seem instead that the function of religion somehow centers in this concept of irrationality.

In his discussion of rationality, Weber sets forth two criteria for its existence: 1) the devaluation of tradition, 2) the systematization of conduct according to rational norms.3 Weber indicates here that action is not rational if it is merely traditional. Rather, there must be some proof that a particular action will fulfill the necessary requirements before it is accepted as being rational. Such proof may be provided by empirical means, but only when the particular action is empirically knowable. The possibility of error occurring in social action exists because of the development of unanticipated consequences.4 Empirical methods are concerned only with known values of space and time, but some goals transcend these values and include heaven and eternity. It is religion which directs its attention to these superempirical goals because they are in the realm of the empirically unknown.5 As a result, religion becomes irrational because it is unable to be empirically proven. Yet, such irrational action is not necessarily without purpose.6 Rather it is often motivated toward these superempirical ends resulting in consequences which are often beneficial to society. Irrationally purposive action, therefore tends to choose those particular acts which are oriented toward the superempirical goals. As a result, religion is motivated toward unanticipated consequences.

Concerning Weber's second criterion, obviously any form of action which is not in accord with what is accepted as rational normality is irrational. The concept of irrationality, therefore, will vary greatly in the concrete case, depending on the particular definition given to rationality in that time and place. In the Parsonian sense, any action which does not have a meaning accounted for by positive empirical science is irrational.7 In the utilitarian context, however, it seems that a certain amount of tradition is valued and that action which is considered irrational is basically ritualistic.8

It is not the purpose of this paper to dwell on an extended analysis of the meaning of irrational social action. Rather, the foregoing considerations have been limited in the hope that they will merely provide a background to allow for a meaningful working concept of irrationality. For our immediate purposes, we will conceive of irrationality as being composed of the following basic elements: 1) there is a certain reliance on tradition for social action, though it need not be ritualistic. Rather, there seems to be a reversion to tradition because the means provided there are still capable of determining whatever ends may be necessary. Yet, irrationality doesn't necessarily mean that empirical means will not be used.9 2) there is a tendency to strive for superempirical ends which exist beyond the superempirical means of validation, 3) because irrational social action is not a pattern of behavior which is prescribed by the rational norms, it tends to constitute a deviant form of social action. The Historical Protestant Framework

Though history could provide many incidents which indicate the conflict of rational and irrational forces in the area of religion, the particular religious form chosen for this analysis is Protestantism as it has been made manifest in America. In its development from Puritan spiritualism to contemporary secularism, Protestantism has had different notions of rationality and has tried to fulfill a number of contradictory functions.

In opposing Catholicism, Protestantism devalued the ritualistic tradition in order to establish new social goals.10 In doing so, it stressed the difference between the real and ideal and focussed on the striving for the ideal superempirical goals which would give new meaning to the social goals. Rationality was proven by experiential rather than by empirical means. In order to achieve such superernpirical goals, the group found its norms in its relations with spiritual rather than secular forces. At many times and places in Protestant history, this pattern of thought and action had deviant origins, but in many cases it eventually developed into a dominant form. At this point it could no longer be considered to be truly irrational. With the development of the empirical sciences, however, there is limitation of action to the acquisition of those goals which are empirically valid. Similarly, there is a delimiting of norms to those which are basically secular. With the development of a strong scientific view, there is an emphasis on change and the complete devaluation of tradition.

The Social Structure of 16th and 17th Century England

With this brief reconceptualization of the function of religion as background, it would now seem appropriate to consider the hypothesis in the light of a specific case history. As the first strong representatives of Protestantism in the New World, the Pilgrims characterize the bridging of the gap between irrational and rational religious behavior. With an origin as deviants in England leading to the development of a dominant force in New England, they are basically homologous to the expansion of American Protestantism. Further the Pilgrims would seem to represent an interesting study because they develop in a context which is in complete contrast to the group studied by Durkheim.

The general social unrest in England at the turn of the 17th century was greatly manifested in the re ligious nonconformity of the times. Throughout the period of 1590-1625, with which we are principally concerned here, there was a general revolt against the persisting medieval traits. Though England remains great in crease in urbanization. Developing with the cities was a large increase in industrial production and the establishment of a new mobility in the social structure. A new class of gentry arose out of trading and business enterprises, while the old landed gentry which relied on land rents for their income held an uncertain prestige. The traditional yeomen developed industrial skills to supplant their farming activities. Intellectually, the beginning of the period is typified by the belief that man is subordinate to God in the established hierarchy of the Great Chain of Being, but that the
world was created for him. The notion stressed that the hierarchy of the church and society, as the hier archy of life, was divine and should remain unchanged. At the end of this period, however, these notions were coming under attack. The support of the Copernican theory by Galileo devalued the spiritual importance of man.

In general, therefore, the changing of social values resulted in a social structure which was not unified or integrated. Such a context varies greatly from the small, unified structure of the Australian primitive considered by Durkheim. Yet, it is not enough to state that religion need not have the same function in the context of 17th century England as it does have in the context of Durkheim's primitive' society, since it would seem that the function of the religious thought and organ ization will vary with the particular social structure in which it is dynamic. One means of characterizing a social structure is in relation to the amount of integration-existing among the component parts. In the concrete case under consideration, there is a lack
of integration among the organizations. This fact would seem to indicate, that in the social structure there would be no established agreement in what constitutes an ideal type of behavior. The ideal type may be institution alized within the particular organization, but since, there is a lack of integration among the organizations, the ideal type need not be accepted by another organ ization. Within the social structure, therefore, there seems to be a degree of freedom in the defining of the ideal. As a result, a deviant within the organization need not necessarily be a deviant within the total social structure.. Where there is a high degree of integra tion within the social structure, however, a deviation from the ideals of the organization will probably also indicate a deviation from the ideals of the social structure. In a strongly integrated society, therefore, the religious institution would have to provide for behavior which is not deviant so that the existence of the society might not be threatened. In a non-unified society, however, deviant behavior may exist in the religious institution with no threat to the society as long as the deviancy is only in relation to religious action and is not transferred to other areas of the society.

Considering the Pilgrims in the light of the general condition of the English social structure at the time, it could be stated that they were deviants because their definition of the ideal of the religious organization differed from the definition conceived by the Anglican Church. Originally, their deviancy did not bring into question those values which were accepted by the entire social structure. It wasn't until the group indicated their dissatisfaction with life in England that they questioned basic values in the social structure.



What was the basis for this definition of the ideal by the Pilgrims? The concept of a non-conformist spirit has been applied to the Pilgrims.11 In essence, this concept emphasizes the existence of life over the existence of organization. Nor is the latter only subservient to life, for it is the belief of non-conformity that organization should originate in life. It is not enough for religious organizaiion to make religious life, rather religious life should make religious organization. It is not the goal of non-conformity to accept or reject any particular type of organization whether ;t be the dominant one in society or not, since this is only a secondary consideration. Nor is non-conformity a mere protest, since its emphasis would require it to begin a new foundation without necessarily tearing the old one down. The religious non-conformist, therefore, would orient himself to that type of behavior which he sees as constituting the religious life. Obviously, this notion is in opposi tion to the view held by Durkheim. While he was assuming the primary importance of an organization toward which a group is oriented, non-conformity stresses the importance of the individual and his con cern for the right way of living, which may lead into integration among the organizations. This fact would the development of a particular type of organization. Clark points out that where there is a state church, the meaning of non-conformity will probably be mis construed as an opposition to that existing church.12
To say that such opposition exists in the case of the Pilgrims does not provide an explanation of its origin,
  which had the original purpose, not of opposing the Anglican Church, but of being an expression of the  group's beliefs. Nor does the existence of such opposition indicate the reason for the group's definition- of its reason for being. If the Pilgrims are seen as basically rural and agricultural, there is a group opposing the existing Church of England, it would indicate that they were deviating to the extent that they didn't accept the values of the religious organization. This would not mean, however, that they necessarily opposed the values of the social structure. The reason for such opposition would still have to be given and would probably be found in the explanation of the non-coliformist's definition of the ideal as life being prior in existence to organization.
13 Once it can be seen that the definition of the ideal differs in the case of both of these religious groups, it may be shown that the subsequent functional requirements would also differ.

Assuming, therefore, that the Pilgrims defined the ideal of religious organizations in terms of stressing the religious life while the Church of England defined the ideal in terms of organization, it could be asked whether such a concern for organization provides for the fulfillment of the function of religion as previously conceptualized in terms of irrationality. In the concrete case of a changing society, the Church of England could not rely on tradition as a means of institutionalizing its values and goals. The need to adjust to the changing social structure would require it to change its values and goals. The need for the religious organization to be integrated with the structure would be particularly great at this time, since religion was closely tied up with every aspect of social life. Nor could the Anglican Church deviate from the norms of the changing social structure, since the need to conform to it would eliminate the possibility of deviancy. The following of a traditional form of behavior removes the need for prediction of future behavior. When behavior is not in accord with traditional patterns, however, the predictability of future patterns may only be understood in terms of empirical goals. In this conformist religious institution, therefore, there would be a tendency to ignore the superempirical goals which have more meaning in the nonconformist organization.

It would seem in this case at least, that the functionally irrational behavior of religion can not be met while the emphasis is on organizational ideals. Nor is it only the cape that these organizational needs may not be the needs of the religious institution, for it would seem to be that they are not necessarily the needs of the lower contextual levels. The functional requirements of religion would seem to center in the needs of the individual, but the religious organization could meet these needs only if it defined its own requirements in terms of the individual. This was probably the notion implied by Clark when he indicates that religious organizational forms result from a particular definition of religious life. The religious behavior on the individual level would be limited to that behavior which fills the requirements of irrational behavior. While the functional requirements of the individual and religion may be met on the individual !evel, an integration of contextual levels is achieved only as long as the definition of required behavior on each subsequent level is in terms of the functional requirements for behavior on that level for which it is functionally relevant. This statement would imply that there is no integration of contextual levels as long as each level strives for that behavior which is required for its own functioning. On the organizational level, therefore, the needs of the group may be met but they do not adequately provide for the meeting of the needs on the lower levels. On the individual level, however, the need is met and may provide for the meeting of the need for life as the contexts become more complex.

The implications of this analysis seem to be diverse. Ultimately, however, it would seem that the religious institution could not perform its proper function and still be completely integrated into the social structure. This statement assumes that the religious institution must be concerned with the fulfillment of the needs of the individual concerning his definition of the "religious life." The larger consideration of the contemporary religious institution will take up this problem. For the present, however, we will return to the case under review in order to point out the conditions which are applicable to the foregoing analysis.

The Early Historical Development

Many of the issues which led to the movements of English religious non-conformity were founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It was in the Act of supremacy and Act of Uniformity that she established herself as "supreme governor" of church and state and stressed the need for unity with the re-introduction of the Prayer Book of 1552. Such a declaration was a revival of the anti-traditional opposition to Catholicism started by Henry VIII. The elimination of all Roman officials established the nationalism of the state and the close future ties it was to have with the church. As a result, this was a strong attempt to maintain social order by bringing the church with its changing disturbance under the control of the state. Indirectly, there was an attempt to de-emphasize the superempirical. relations of the church, for the Prayer Book was basically concerned with establishing a uniformity of ceremonial behavior. Even at this early period, it becomes obvious that the church is being', used to meet the needs of the social structure. The extent to which it was successful is indicated by the fact that there was little resistance by the clergy to the new order. Only on the part of the laity did there appear any significant opposition, probably because "they had less to JoSe."14 The means by which Elizabeth changed the values and structure of the religious group so that it would meet the rational secular needs of the society were the elimination of deviant statuses in the form of Roman Catholic officials and controlling those statuses which included in their role-set both church and state roles.

With the accession of James I to the throne, the situation became more complex. The chief opponents~ to the Anglican Church were now Puritans and not Roman Catholics. His dislike of the Puritans stemmed from his opposition to Presbyterianism in his native Scotland. To him, this new group represented a new form of Presbyterianism which had existed separately from the state in Scotland. It became obvious to the Puritans at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604 that James intended to support the Anglican Church as a means of consolidating his secular power and to provide any necessary changes in its doctrine to prevent it from appearing Presbyterian. This last effort was largely accomplished through the work of eminent state theologians such as Hooker and Andrews who repudiated the traditional doctrines of Luther and Calvin and provided for a new "learned and reasoned basis for the theological position of the Church of England."15

The control of church by state led to the eventual belief of the king that opposition to the church indicated opposition to the state. In fact, however, the Puritans felt that their deviancy was limited to the organization and did not apply to the structure as a whole. It was only when faced with the decision that they were secular, as well as spiritual deviants, that they were forced to resolve the deviancy by leaving the group or rebelling against it.

This control by the state indicated its attempt to negate the possibility of unanticipated consequences. Indirectly, therefore, this attempt to predict consequences by means of centralization of power indicated an orientation away from unanticipated consequences and a lack of concern for superempirical goals. It was by the development of an autocratic structure, therefore, that the state was able to have its needs met by the church, since it was able to define what constituted deviancy and the rational needs of the society. The autocracy of the society was characterized by the theory of the divine right of kings by the Anglican Church. Nor was the belief limited to the spiritual organization, for James had stated that, "kings are not only God's lieutenants here below and sit upon God's thrones, but even by God Himself are called gods."16 Obviously such a theory would eliminate any possibility of irrationality, since the king himself would have complete knowledge.

The lack of integration within the social structure may be seen by the fact that existing within this autocratic system was Parliament and the mechanism for individual self-expression. It was the existence of such an organizational factor which motivated for the development of a pattern of deviancy. The Puritan took advantage of this tool in order to attack the state and the church, In fact, much of the independency and self-governing attitude came from the fact that the House of Commons was controlled by the Puritans.17 It was only after the strong reign of Tudor regents, however, that the nation could voice the needs of the individual in its attempt to become self-governing.

While the Puritans controlled the Parliament and were striving for the religious rights they desired, they must have thought that they had a religious sanction for doing so. The traditional Protestantism from which Puritanism grew had its roots in the continental Reformation of Luther, and more particularly of Calvin. It was the mode of meeting the individual's needs and allowing for individual interpretation which was set by these men and emulated by their English followers. It was this traditional pattern, therefore, which also motivated for deviancy. For the Puritans, there was not only a historical and political reason for their irrationality, but probably more important, there was a religious reason in the seeking for the superempirical goals offered by God. As long as it was believed that God, and not the king, had perfect knowledge, the action of the Puritans had an irrational source.

Nor were there only religious reasons for striving for unanticipated consequences, since there were organizational factors causing motivation for such goals. The attempt to develop an influential Parliament was an experiment, since before the 17th century Parliament had felt that it only "had duties . . . of supplying financial aid and moral support for royal despotism."18 Such an endeavor could only have unexpected results, for there was no way in which a prediction of the customs could be made. Though the needs of the English social structure required the prediction of the future in order to maintain a certain integration of the changing system, a system concerned with meeting the needs of the individual may not have such a requirement. As long as the Puritan Parliament system is concerned with the achievement of the needs and freedom of the individual, there is no need to predict the future consequences, since there is no attempt to control them. Hence, this smaller social system does not have the same motivation to anticipate possible consequences as the structural system.

As has been indicated, in this particular case, the Reformation tradition and the peculiar nature of the political system motivated the religious organization to meet the needs of the individual. Yet, there may be other devices which are influencing the religious organization to fulfill the needs of the individual. As long as the religious system related to God, there was little need for the development of a formal organization. To the religious group, God would fill the requirements usually performed by the formal organization. It seems to be only when the activity of the religious system becomes secular that man must be concerned with controlling his man-to-man relations. The emphasis on relating to the superempirical, therefore, requires that the religious organization meet the needs of the individual.

Similarly, it was the development of an organizational and normative mechanism for the establishment of deviancy which met the needs of the individual. As has been indicated, the culture of the day was characterized by great social mobility as members of the lower classes found new power and wealth. Basically, therefore, these cultural values of new individual freedom and authority gave support to the use of Parliament as an aggressive tool for gaining individual freedom.

As the Anglican Church was used by the social structure to meet the needs of that system, the Puritan movement was used by the individual to achieve those needs of his which hadn't been met by the larger contextual levels. On the individual level, however, there is much freedom in the opportunity to define what constitutes the individual's needs. Once there is freedom to reject the definition imposed by the. social structure, there are numerous ways in which the individual may deviate. Not being a part of the general Puritan movement, the Pilgrims are strongly characterized by an individual definition of their needs. There was no organized group indicating how they should act or what they should believe. The group of middle class gentry and yeomen which comprised the original band of Pilgrims found its original need in reading the Bible and interpreting it for themselves. Coming from an isolated area and not in the mainstream of English life, the Pilgrims had none of the political ties which characterized the Puritans. As a result of these two factors, they found themselves to be more strongly inclined to separate from the Anglican Church than the Puritans. For this reason, they identified their need only in religious terms and considered themselves to be chiefly a religious group. The pattern of deviancy developing from these conditions was the establishment of a church at Scrooby in opposition to the Anglican Church from which they separated in 1606; persecution of the Pilgrims from the immediate vicinity of Scrooby followed by pressure from the Anglican High Commission and eventual emigration from the country.

The original founder of the Pilgrim church was William Bradford, a layman who had absorbed the Puritan influence. It should be noted, however, that he represents no organization, nor does he have any religious status. In fact, his state position of Master of the Post made him a servant of the Crown. It was only through his study at the Puritan University that he came into contact with the Puritan teaching of the south. Nor did he return to Scrooby until he had traveled in Europe in the service of an English nobleman. His organization of the Pilgrim church was very informal and centered in the belief that their interpretation of the Bible indicated that there was no warrant for the hierarchical nature of the Anglican Church. Their attitude toward organization and discipline was so fluid that they could state, "We promise and covenant with God and with one another to receive whatsoever light or truth shall be made known to us from His written word."19 Again it was William Bradford who wrote that, "The true church and the proper government of the same is to be known by the scriptures, and to be measured only by that rule, the primitive pattern, which church and the government of the same is sufficiently described and laid down in the writings of the apostles and evangelists."20

These sympathies would indicate that the Pilgrim cause was founded on an individual interpretation of standards and values found in the scripture. The emphasis was on a unified condemnation of church organization as it was manifested by the Anglican Church. The Puritans, however, who were not strongly separatist, stressed the universal acceptance of certain scriptural principles, allowing for no deviation. In the matter of separation, they tended to be noncommittal, allowing for deviating attitudes and actions on the subject. In both cases, therefore, there was a realization that the individual needed a certain freedom and relationship to the superempirical entity of God. The Pilgrims permitted deviation in matters of organization but not in matters of dogma. These particular emphases of the organizational form resulted in differing consequences, not only on the structural level but also on the individual. A consideration of organizational processes and their effect on these particular groups would undoubtedly indicate the reasons why the particular deviancy of each group was stressed. It is not felt, however, that such considerations are within the immediate scope of this paper. The particular reason for the Pilgrims' greater deviancy with the social structure probably centers in this fact of their unified denouncement of certain organizational principles of the Anglican Church.

The religious institution had been under such great change for so long a period of time that it included, at this time, all forms of dogma and their believers, including former papists and Puritan dissenters. As long as they were absorbed by the Anglican Church, however, the less radical Puritans could be tolerated, for it was the organizational framework which was sanctioned by the social structure and fulfilled the necessary structural requirements. It was only when the Separatists, including the Pilgrims, defined the ideal of Protestantism in organizational terms which could not be tolerated by the organization or social structure that their deviancy represented a revolt against the society.

The f act that the Scrooby congregation was located in an area which was largely Catholic and isolated from the mainstream of Protestant non-conformity easily identified the group as deviant.21 It was by members of their role set, therefore, that the Pilgrims were first defined as deviants because of their identification of the Church of England as a greater enemy than the Catholic majority. It was the deviation front the social norms which initiated local social pressure, and the eventual definition of the Pilgrims as deviants by the Anglican Church. It was before the Court of High Commission that Brewster and others were summoned in 1607. As a "law court for the trial of all ecclesiastical causes"22 it was the High Commission which represented the final denouncement of the Pilgrims on the level of the social structure.

It should be emphasized, however, that the Pilgrims were deviant, not merely because they were defined as such, but also because they considered themselves to be.23 It could be said that they were voluntary deviants. Since the deviant status of the Pilgrims was not entirely forced upon them by society, they were able to define some of their own needs as deviants. These needs were summed up in the belief "that the lordly and tyrannous power of the prelates ought not to be submitted unto; which . . . would load and burden men's consciences"24 and also that their desires were set on the ways of God and to enjoy His ordinances; but they rested on His providence, and knew Whom they had believed."25 It was the desire to be separate from all that represented the uncleanness of man and to cling to all that represented the perfection of God which motivated the Pilgrims in the definition of their needs as deviants. The voluntary nature of their deviancy is emphasized here, for once there is no longer the motivation to strive for these needs, the purpose and action of the groups is changed. They need not be changed, however, when the social, structure allowing for this definition of the group's needs remains the same. The organizational factors causing an involuntary form of deviancy will probably differ from the organizational factors causing voluntary forms of deviancy.

The attempt has been made here to indicate that there were organizational factors which caused the deviancy of the Pilgrims as well as their own definitions of the situation. Previously, it had been indicated that there were organizational reasons for seeking of superempirical goals, as well as religious requirements to strive for such goals. Once the Pilgrims decided to leave England because "they could no longer continue in that condition"26 they were forced to seek unanticipated consequences because of their deviant status. They were willing to go to Holland, ita country they knew not but by hearsay, where they must learn a new language and get their livings they knew not how, it being a dear place and subject to the miseries of war, it was by many thought an adventure almost desperate."27 Yet, it was because of their belief in the efficacy of seeking unanticipated consequences that they could be sure that though, "such attempts were not to be made and undertaken without good ground and reason . . . their condition was not ordinary, their ends were good and honorable, their calling lawful and right; and therefore they might expect the blessing of God in their proceeding."28 The assurance of the Pilgrims that they would reach superempirical goals allowed them to assume the deviant status which removed them from the more predictable stability of the English social structure.

The voluntary deviancy of the Pilgrims may be more clearly seen during their stay in Holland. It was here that they received the religious freedom which they had been seeking. There was no attempt to set up any religious or social requirements for the English. Yet the Pilgrims found it necessary to define their; trends in deviant terms. Though they had found the religious freedom they had sought, there had been no consideration of the possibility that the group would lose its own identity and existence in this country. Bradford indicates that two of the principal reasons for wanting to leave Holland were that the group was becoming more aged, so that "they would be in danger to scatter, by necessities pressing them, or sink under their burdens, or both," and the children "by these occasions and the great licentiousness of youth in that country, and the manifold temptations of the place were drawn away by evil examples into extravagant and dangerous courses, getting the reins off their necks and departing from their parents."29 These unanticipated consequences, therefore, were the motivating factors for the continuation of their status as deviants. Similarly, the religious need to seek the superempirical goals of God inspired "a great hope and inward zeal . . of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world."30

It should be noted here that the needs of the group are now chiefly stated in consideration of organizational rather than individual factors. The desire for individual freedom of interpretation of the Bible and individual opportunity to criticize the Anglican Church is now supplanted by the desire to maintain the identity of the group. Nor are the needs of the Pilgrims defined solely in religious terms, for there is now a concern for broader cultural factors such as the family and the economy. Though there is still a reliance on the superempirical nature of God, the freedom provided by the Dutch social structure allows the Pilgrims more choice in voluntarily making a definition of their needs in terms of the group. It was this particular system, however, with its low standard of living and unfamiliar culture which acted as a more directly motivating factor for the emphasis of group requirements. These needs centered in the maintenance of the group in a stable economy. For this reason, they joined with merchant adventurers in the hope that a colony could be organized. When leaving England, there was neither opportunity or desire to leave as a unified body. On this occasion, however, there is definite preparation made to see that all who were able to go would travel as a body. Unconsciously, therefore, the change in structure causes a greater emphasis on secular and organizational needs of the group. Since there is still strong motivation for stressing their deviant status because of the fear of losing their group identity, there is still a need to strive for superempirical goals. As a result, the Pilgrims took upon the trip to America as an unknowable adventure which may be accomplished only with the blessing of God.

It should be pointed out here that as long as there is a strong belief in the providence of God, future consequences will be unanticipated and a self-fulfilling prophecy will exist. This is simply because the relationship with God is seen as a spiritual end in itself and not as a spiritual means to a secular end. As there is a greater emphasis on organizational needs of the group, however, there will be more stress on secular ends with the relationship with God acting as a means to these ends. In this process of change, therefore, the realization of organizational and secular needs lays the foundation for these future changes.

Although many others had previously traveled to the New World and colonies had already been established, the Pilgrims were probably the least prepared of any of the former colonists for the trip. As Bradford states, "We are in such a strait at present . . . to put ourselves upon great extremities, scarce having any butter, no oil, not a sole to mend a shoe, nor every man a sword at his side, wanting many muskets, much armour etc. And yet we are willing to expose ourselves to such eminent dangers as are like to ensue, and trust to the good providence of God."31 It should be further noted that in addition to the above stated physical shortcomings, there were other difficulties which the Pilgrims encountered. Not only were they not backed by merchants who were wealthy or influential as those who had supported previous colonizing expeditions, but they were also in disagreement with them concerning.the agreements by which they were being sponsored. Nor was there only conflict between them and their supporters, for the existence of strangers in their midst helped to promote the disunity which prevailed f rom then on.32 It was largely because of this disunity that the Mayflower Compact was written, for threats from some of the strangers indicated to the Pilgrims that they would not consider themselves to be subject to any group and would use their liberty as they wished. It was this contract, therefore, which provided the first secular authority in the group. In it they formed a pledge to "solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and . . . to enact, constitute and frame such just Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, f rom time to time, as shall be thought most well and convenient for the general good of the Colony."33 Immediately following the declaration of this covenant, John Carver was chosen to be Governor for the year.

Though the story of Plymouth Colony only begins at this point, the landing of the Pilgrims and the writing of the Compact provides the necessary foundation for the future development of the Colony. The group has defined its needs in secular and group terms, both in the Compact and the contract with their merchant sponsors. The quest for religious and individual freedom has ended and the new goal is the establishment of a successful colony. The religious need to seek God begins to act as a means of achieving the secular ends. Nor is there the same reliance on unanticipated consequences, for there is a need to predict the future in order to maintain the welfare of the organization. It should be emphasized that these consequences result because of the success that the Pilgrims had in the performance of their religious role. It is precisely because they were able to fulfill the function of religion in the particular social structure they encountered that they were successful in their deviancy and reliance on unanticipated consequences. Once established in Plymouth, they find there is little motivation to voluntarily maintain their deviant religious status and the concomitant religious needs. In f act, the formation of their own dominant civil organization required them to conform to a secular, as well as a religious status. The need for conformity further requires them to maintain and emphasize certain social relations. As a result, there tends to be a neglect of man to God relations and the deemphasis of a definition of the religious requirements in terms of the need for "life." Instead, there is an attempt made to use the religious role of the church as a means of satisfying the secular position of the church. Not only were religious dissenters unable to become members of the church, but church membership was used as a means of further stratifying the population of the colony. Additional troubles in the church were caused by confusion concerning various matters of dogma. The variety of ministers chosen by the colony indicates that they allowed deviation in matters of dogma which could be preached. It should be pointed out that such particular difficulties are partially the result of the way in which the Pilgrims had defined their religious needs in England. The fact that they had taken a negative attitude toward organization had prevented them from estab lishing an organizational precedent. The result was use of the same methods they had opposed in England because of the existence of a social structure with similar needs. Also, the fact that they hadn't codified their dogma because of their emphasis of individual interpretation resulted in the calling of ministers with differing opinions. As a result, the Pilgrims of Plymouth were without strong spiritual leaders with the exception of some of the laymen who were limited in their powers.

It has been the purpose of this paper to consider some of the theoretical facts which are inherent in a study of the function of religion. In this analysis, it has been indicated that it is necessary to consider the extent to which the group is deviant, the motivation for superempirical goals, the contextual level which is defining the religious needs, and the particular contextual level in which the religious group is found.

It is a consideration of this last factor which provides an insight into the limitations of Durkheim's thesis. Though religion may provide for a unifying of the statuses within a religious organization, it need not have the function of providing unity within the total social structure. It is the deviant nature of the religious organization, therefore, which is characteristic of the lack of unity in the social structure. It is in the communal type of structure analyzed by Durkheim, however, that there is little possibility of deviancy. Nor are the needs of each contextual level different in the communal society, since there is a closer identification of one with the other.

In fact, by fulfilling its function, the religious institution will probably cause a lack of integration within the social structure because it must be socially deviant in fulfilling its requirements. If the religious institution is relatively powerless or the resultant lack of integration is small, the effect of this deviancy will probably be of a minor nature. In circumstances such as existed in 16th and 17th century England where the religious institution is a significant part of the structure and there is a notable lack of integration, pressure may be imposed by the system to have the religious organization conform. Once this occurs, the function of the religious institution is susceptible to change.

The problem here seems to be in the f orm of a dilemma. What measures must be taken by the religious institution to ensure the fulfillment of its needs without preventing the integration of the social structure? The solution to this dilemma may be found in an understanding of the ways in which the religious organization may continue to meet the needs of the individual while also being required to meet the needs of a larger social system. At first glance, it would seem that the religious organization, with its requirement to fill the needs of the individual, could be well integrated into a democratic social structure with its theoretical purpose of organizing for individual freedom. On the other hand, the religious organization must be deviant or change its function when it is part of a social structure which stresses the needs of organization. Further study in this field, therefore, would have to identify those processes which aid in the development of a sense of freedom on the individual level and allow it to be maintained as this motivation is carried into higher contextual levels, There must also be an identification of those processes which lead the social structure into a requirement of unity for the organizations.

In this case, it has been pointed out that two factors which motivated for the development of individual need were the Reformation tradition and the Parliamentary machinery. Similarly, on the structural level, two secular factors which demanded unity within the system were the existence of an autocratic system and the development of a policy of nationalism. The fact that these two forces existed with such intensity at this time resulted in the future conflict. It should be noted, however, that the Puritan conflict developed because they were not completely deviant in the system, but had strong interests for conformity in some of their role behavior. Conflict was avoided in the case of the Pilgrims, however, because of their identification as deviants within the total structure and their sole emphasis on the religious role. It must be realized, therefore, that this dilemma of the function of religion may be solved, not simply by considering the religious institution, but by analyzing it in the light of the total structure. As a result, the variable factor in any study of the function of religion will be the extent to which religious beliefs and actions may be defined as deviant forms of belief and action. In our contemporary society, if there is reliance on tradition and superempirical ends, the religious institution must either, a) be considered deviant, with the result that it will be looked upon as constituting a varying form of non-conformity, or b) be accepted as rational, with the result that its beliefs and actions will be accepted as the standard for the system. Once the religious institution accepts the changing empirical goals of the system, it loses its functions in such conformity.

As a closing note it should be indicated that, though this study is limited to the function of religion, the consideration of other concepts such as deviancy, unanticipated consequences, and needs and integration of contextual levels will lead to a further understanding of such factors. There is no attempt made here to give some of the implications for future study of these notions. Rather, they are included merely because they are vital to a consideration of the function of religion. Similarly, there is no attempt made to indicate any revelant importance for the study of the function of any other social institution or phenomena.

1. Empiricism in this paper will be conceptualized to refer to a positivistic empiricism instead of an experiential empiricism.

2. Durkheim, p. 428.
3. Weber, p. 80.
4. The concept of unanticipated consequences refers to the notion as developed by R. K. Merton and K. Davis in the bibliographic sources.
5. See K. Davis for a development of the notion of superempirical goals. 6. Cf. "The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy," pp. 179-195 (from R. K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure). 7. Parsons, p. 58.
8. Ibid., p. 57.
9. In his reference to "Puritanism, Pietism and Science," (Social Theory and Social Structure, pp. 329-346), Merton indicates that the Royal Society resorted to empirical methods for their scientific studies, though not necessarily for their social action.
10. See also Parsons, op. cit., p. 57.
11. Clark, Henry, History of English Non-Conformity. Though Clark doesn't apply the concept solely to'religious groups, they are his principle examples.
12. Ibid., p. 11.
13. It would have to be shown, however, that the Church of England centered its attention on organization.
14. Moorman, p. 202.
15. Davis, Godfrey, p. 66.
16. Moorman, op. cit., p. 226.
17. Trevelyan, p. 394.
18. Moorman, op. cit., p. 226.
19. Usher, The Pilgrims and Their History, pp. 11-12.
20. Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, Mass. Historical Soc., Col. 1, pp. 3-4.
21. Usher, op. cit., p. 5 and pp. 17-18.
22. Moorman, op. cit., p. 226.
23. Usher, op. cit., pp. 22-23.
24. Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, (ed. by Eliot Morison), p. 8.
25. Ibid., p. 11.
26. Ibid., P. 10.
27. Ibid., p. 11.
28. Ibid., p.
29. Ibid., pp. 24-25 (a footnote indicates that some of the "licentiousness" probably referred to by Bradford was the playing on Sunday by Dutch children).
30. Ibid., p. 25.
31. Ibid., pp. 50-51.
32. Ibid., P. 44 (it was at the request of the merchant adventurers that these strangers went with the Pilgrims  It was thought that they would be of more assistance in establishing a colony. It is probably quite true that they did, for many of them became the background of Plymouth).
33. Ibid., p. 76.

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