The Sociologists’ Unscientific War on Religion

November 11, 2014 | Peter Leithart
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Sociology presents itself as an objective and value-free science, but most sociologists exhibit a stunning uniformity of outlook and place their discipline at the service of a particular ideological agenda. For many of its practitioners, Christian Smith argues in a new book, sociology has become a kind of substitute religion. Peter Leithart explains:

Borrowing from the aims of Christianity [writes Smith], sociology unsurprisingly offers “a secular salvation story” with roots in the “Enlightenment, liberalism, Marxism, reformist progressivism, pragmatism, therapeutic culture, sexual liberation, civil rights, feminism, and so on.” Some sociologists are true believers; others are tacitly friendly to the project. . . . [Smith] shows that the typical sociology text is not a statistical analysis but a study of a threatening social problem brought about by injustices committed by elites, and the research aims to mobilize “social and political movements for political and economic change.” . . . He also cites anecdotal evidence from conversations with grad students who focus their research, for instance, on learning what the “enemies” are up to (enemies being the Religious Right).

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