No Change in Doctrine

Chapter 5 in “Religion: The Social Context” discusses in-depth the different types of collective religious stances and individual religious orientations.  Within this typology is that of the denominational stance which describes groups that “exist in a positive relationship with society and accept the legitimacy class of other religious collectivities with a denominational stance” (Pg. 157).  In the article, C of E Bishops Refuse to Change Stance on Gay Marriage, the writer talks about the Church of England’s long withstanding orthodox doctrine on marriage.  According to their doctrine, marriage can only be between  a man and a woman.  A ruling like this seems to put the Church of England in a position of tension with the greater society today for refusing to adopt doctrine to fit in with the 21st century.

Members of the Church of England were divided, some stating that the church accepts divorce now and other biblical orthodoxies are no longer taken literally, while the other side says that biblical principles need to be upheld and doctrine should not “bow” to contemporary culture. Despite their ruling, the C of E wants to advocate freedom for gay people and stand against homophobia.  I think these are the kind of rulings that influence the religious orientation of some people.  The changes or lack of in doctrine disagree with an individual’s beliefs or clash with society in ways that cause their religious orientation to shift.  This could lead them to move away from their religious faith to something that matches their beliefs better such as spiritual or cult collectives.

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