Peter J. Jessen

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24.  List of Peter Berger Statements Regarding the Social Construction and Interpretation of Social Reality and Self.   What follows is an excerpt from a reader prepared for a college class in “Social Inequality,” Fall 1989, pp. 20-29 of a 36 page paper.

The Struggle to Affect Life Chances
by Attempting to Maintain or Change  the Status Quo
Regarding Providing or Denying Access
to Societal and Capital Resources


The Struggle to Make Haste Slowly, Inclusively,
With Cognitive Respect,
Developing Criteria for Developing Public and Private Policy
  Regarding Freedom, Peace, Justice, Effectiveness, and Inclusiveness
Which Will Maximize Meaning and Minimize Pain

by Peter J. Jessen October 30, 1989

vis a vis sociology and the sociology of knowledge AS THEY RELATE TO SOCIAL STRATIFICATION, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, and justice

Which brings us back to Peter Berger.  I am a student of his work.  He has not nor does he intend to start a school of thought, a"Bergerian School."  He would be embarrassed by people claiming to be such, and sees himself as one more practicioner of science following in the footsteps of those who came before, building upon their works, having the advantage of each succeeding generation of data not available to earlier generations, and, most importantly, able to provide the kind of hindsight empirically unavailable to those earlier sociologists, and expecting the generation following his to use his work in the same way.

Hunter and Ainly (Making Sense of Modern Times:  Peter L. Berger and the Vision of Interpretive Sociology) state that "Berger has developed a theoretical perspective and analytical model, novel for its synthesis of different theoretical strains in classical and contemporary theory.  It is a perspective that comprehensively encompasses the complex relationship between the individual and society, the relationship between the micro-and macro-social worlds, the social genesis, maintenance, and distribution of knowledge, among other things."

The exerpts below are taken from primarily from these book by Berger

Invitation to Sociology
The Social Construction of Reality
Sociology:  A Biographcal Approach
The Homeless Mind, Pyramids of Sacrifice
Facing Up To Modernity, To Empower People
The Heretical Imperative
Sociology Reinterpreted
The Capitalist Revolution, Modern Capitalism:  Volume 1:  Capitalism and Equality
in America
Modern Capitalism:  Volume 2:  Capitalism and Equality in the Third World.
Books written about his work include (1) Making Sense of Modern Times:  Peter L. Berger and the Vision of Interpretive Sociology, Edited by Hunter and Ainlay.  (2) Humanity and Modern Social Thought, Edited by Guzzort and King, and (3) Cultural Analysis, Edited by Wuthnow, Hunter, Bergesen, and Kurzweil.
Below is a long list of statements reflecting the work and significance of Peter Berger's work.  They are not meant to be propositions or principles but rather as an outline, an outline with numbered statements so that we can better discuss them in class by referring to the number in question.  This is meant to be illustrative and instructive, not definitive.  It presents a theoretical floor accompanied with empirical data to provide a foundation on which to build to analyze society, understand society, and then to use the results of such work to inform one's action as a citizen and as a policy maker or decider and, most pressingly, in the term paper due at the end of the semester.
The basics of his theoretical approach are as follows:

From the standpoint of reality being a social construction:

1.    Reality is a social construction

a.   The sociology of knowledge concerns itself with everything that passes for "knowledge" in society
b.   Knowledge is socially distributed
c.    The sociology of knowledge studies the mechanisms of this distribution

2.    The mechanics of reality construction are seen in two three processes:
The first three-step process:
   Externalization Internalization Objectivation

a.In this first process, cultural products are made through social interaction (externalization), which are then presented as being real (objectivation), and then accepted as being real (internalization).  Sometimes, when the original reality creating act becomes forgotten, the reality construction takes on a life of its own, as if it had always been real rather than made real through the social interaction and reality construction activity of people.

b.Creating or suggesting ideas, actions, behaviors, or explanations, is externalization.  You must then discuss it in such a way, both orally and in writing, that it is seen to be a stand-alone "truth," is real, and is viewed as a real object.  This is objectivation.  You must then get those who view it as real to take it and make it part of their own understandings and reality.  This is internalization.

The second three-step process:
Legitimation   Nihilation Therapeutics

c.    To protect reality, you must undertake the task of explaining the validity and value (and, if you can, the superiority of your view), differentiate yourself positively from the others also seeking the position (and, as required, underscore, by inference, the defects in others), and present yours as the logical choice, minimally (being satisfactory and acceptable) or maximally (as the best choice).  This is legitimation.  Where people have an objection to you (something in their interpretation of you or in their questions suggests they either do not accept your view or wish to accept a rival reality definition), you must reinterpret yourself and your past events (and other individuals if need be) in order to bring your listener in line with your reality.  In other words, you have to eliminate or negate the opposing view.  This is called nihilation (or, we could say, negative legitimation).  When applied politically, this act of nihilation results in the competing sides taking the ultimate step of nihilation, killing those who don't accept their reality definition.  Finally, you have to maintain your constructed reality.  You must do what is necessary to enable people to keep believing your view, skillfully placing the blame for any defection from your view on external factors (the economy, the industry, individual defectors), and provide the proper support for those "backsliding" on accepting your definition.  This is called therapeutics.

d.   With Durkheim:  consider social facts as things

e.   With Weber:  the object of cognition is the subjective meaning-complex of

f. action

3.    The enterprise of sociology or any social science can best be undertaken in the classical tradition, which calls for a commitment to the scientific stature of the study of society, a passion to see the world as it is without first making politial or ethical judgments based on what one wants to see, and to maintain an objectivity uncolored by overt political bias.
4.    To understand that no matter how much objectivity one has in approaching the reality of the social world, its meaning is never self-evident but rather is always subject to interpretation (this is seen particularly in the "culture shock" of anthropologists who, when it is too much or they cannot hold onto their own idenity, "go native").
5.    To understand the world in an interpretive manner is to employ the ordinary words used in the world in the attempt to interpret the subjective meanings and motives of the social actors.  The meaning must go to the generic, to explain the nature, the causal relations, and the historical significance of different institutional configurations and their meaning for and impact on various types of individuals and groups as they live out the routines of everyday life.
6.    Be unprovincial in the analysis, be comprehensive:  understand the historical component, be comparative, and have, as much as possible, a self-conscious philosophical/methodological component. 
7.    Dare to take on the most consequential issues of the time, which today means "modernity":  attempt to make sense of the modern world.  Attempt to understand a rapidly changing world and its consequences for individual existence.
8.    Because human beings do not have any biological instincts for human social interaction, they cannot operate, develop, grow, create, or inspire in a "role-free" existence.
9.    Roles too are socially created.
10.   Because there can be no role-free existence, there is a need for "habituation".  Thus:  the need for "habituation" means there can be no "role-free" existence.
11.  The best rehearsal hall to "habituate" your role playing in is the private sphere.
12.   To develop habits to draw on for action, humans create their own instinct substitutes:  behaviors (manners, tradition) and procedures (laws, rules, policies, old wives tales, etc..  Behavior is controlled by perception (a view, an opinion, a belief about what is or is not true).
13.  Institutions are The Carriers of Socially Constructed Behaviors
14.  Institutionalization is the process of creating/ordering behavior
15.  Traditions are the historical "Instincts" institutionalized into rituals

§    How is it that subjective meanings become objective facticities?
§    How is it possible that human activity should produce a world of things?
§    What is real?  How is one to know?
§    We must see the world as it is, not as we would like it be.
§    Societal meanings are not self-evident:  they are open to interpretation
§    Goal:  to make sense of the modern world:  to study the relationship of technololgy bureaucracy to modern consciousness
§    Humans create society
§    Society acts back upon humans
§    Humans act on that, etc., etc., etc.
§    Humans are in society
§    Society is in humans

16.   Social control is then carried out by institutions.  Reality is carried by institutions (some of which are organized bureacracies).  Whichever, institutions are the carriers of socially constructed behaviors.  Institutionalizaton is the process of creating/ordering behavior.
17.  Institutionalziation is the process of creating/ordering behavior
18.  Tradition:  historical "instinct substitutes" institutionalized into rituals
19.   The key institution is language.  It is the first institution encountered.Institutions have basic characteristics:

1.   coerciveness:  they determine what
2.   moral authority:  they determine why:  claim legitimacy
3.   historicity:  they legitimate past/present/future

20.  Status and roles are concepts and performance indicators/evaluators

1.   Achieved (by one's own efforts)
2.   Ascribed (assigned by others)

21.   Order is the primary imperative of social life, and gives rise to two other imperatives:  continuity and trivia.Order is achieved through traditions, roles, and rituals.
22.  Goal:  to learn how to deal with multiple realities, solving the personal crises in

a.   dealing with modernity, so as to maintain a sense of continuity in one's sense of
b.   identity:  how to play one's different roles correctly on the different stages of life's
c.    different realities.

23.   Solving social problems requires working out a calculus of meaning and a calculus of pain criteria, which could include such questions as "is it good for children?" and "is it inclusive" (as opposed to exclusive)?
24.   Recognize the reality of the unintended consequences of social/political/religious action, and plan accordingly.
25.   The problem is not economic but ideational, not capitalism vs. socialism, but rather the discontents of modernity.
26.   Theories are based on both micro and macro considerations, although only a few press on toward each other, such as the sociology of knowledge framework as worked out by Berger.
27.   Social change theories are constructed to explain and predict large societal level activity.
28.  Social change attempts are also attempts to change social stratification, either to increase or decrease social inequality.  There is dialectical relation (Weber’s “recipirocal causation of reality”)  between the structural realities and the human enterprise of constructing reality. (including theories about this).  Contemporary society can be better understood with empirical research showing the relation of institutions to legitimating symbolic universes. 
29.  Symbolic universes are the fourth level of legitimation, bodies of theoretical tradition that integrate different provinces of meaning and encompass the institutional order in a symbolic totality.

1st level = Incipient legitimation by language, vocabulary

2nd level = theoretical propositions in a rudimentary form:  proverbs, moral maxims, wise sayings, ledgends, folk tales

3rd level = explicit theories, comprehensive frames of reference for the respective sectors of institutionalized conduct

4th level = symbolic universes integration of all subjective and objective meanings in an all embracing frame of reference

30.  Order is the primary imperative of social life, and is obtained through roles and rituals.
31.  There is always an existension tension between structure and action, between pessimism and affirming the possibilities of human autonomy.  To do justice to empirical reality of human social life requires acknowledging both "structure" and "action" and not denying one or the other.
32.  Hence, a theoretically sound soicology will show both the limits and the possibilities of what individuals experience as their freedom, being pessimistic in the sense of being anti-utopian yet not being automatically cynical or passive because of the constraining structures.
Then, moving from theory and empirical data to action based on both vis a vis policy making:
33.  That in moving from analysis to policy, a "postulate of ignorance" is required, a stance that recognizes the limits to knowing what to do after all of the empirical evidence is in, and that, in the policy arena, to utilize the moral criteria of the "calculus of pain" and the "calculus of meaing" forpolicy, especially developmental ones.
34.  That, from a policy standpoint, it would appear, from the data so far, that the best bet is not on socialism but on democratic capitalism, within the recognition that whether one uses a redistributionist model or not, there can be nothing to redistribute to the poor if there is no wealth to produce. 
35.  That the lost "sense of community" decried in the 60's and 70's was overblown because of the "mediating structures" cushioning people from the blows of "modernity":  the family, church, the neigborhood, voluntary associations, and sub-cultures, and that another aspect of the calculi of developing policy is to evaluate it on the basis of how it will (or does after being implemented) strengthen these mediating structures rather than weakening them.
36.  That "participatory politics" may well not be the place to begin, but rather participating within the institutions which carry on and support politics, in order that they are framed to protect and facilitate individual autonomy (which, by defintion, rules out fascism and socialism and any other "totalistic" political schemes, which increase human deprivation and tear away the safeguards of human meanings.
37.  That doctrines of "liberation" as criteria for policy will not necessarily lead to freedom, as the major totalitarian systems of the modern world all have their roots in doctrines of libertion. 
38.  That if one does not see the justice one feels needs to be in place, that the place to begin is with the institutions of the modern welfare state in order to make the decision(s) on whether to keep, modify, reform, or seek altogether different alternatives more appropriate to American society than the current system.
39.  That in dealing with policy, one is also dealing with the great question of theodicy, which is more than a philosophical problem, as it deals with the subjective meanings that make up the base of everyday life.  Thus, to deal with and make sense of suffering, injustice, and death, one must begin with the institutions, as these are needs of human beings as a whole, not just philosophers or theoreticians.
40.  That "cognitive respect" is as much a methodological as a moral principle, and deals with meanings of people.  Respecting the common values and traditions of people requires rejecting all notions of "raising the consciousness" of people or worse, pretending to know better than they what is good for them.
41.  That these realizations link up with Burkean conservatism, predisposing one toward democracy as a form of government and toward a market economy.
42.  That wherever sociology is practiced in the classical tradition, there too will be the liberating qualities of sociological consciousness.
Having said all of this, what is the result of Berger's work vis a vis modern capitalism? 
43.  In 1974, he published Pyramids of Sacrifice:  Political Ethics and Social Change, in which he summarizes his argument into twenty-five theses (no Lutheran delusions of grandeur should be read into this), and which are included in Reader Item #17.  In this book he demonstrates how economic planners and intellecutals -- the latest priesthood -- demand the labor and the lives ofpeople today on the shaky premise of a better tomorrow.  He outlines why we must not accept any ideology, whether of the left or right, whether of capitalism or socialism, that justifies human suffering, or who, in the name of "consciousness raising" deny the values and perceptions of those they are theoretically trying to help, and in doing so rob them of the meaning in their lives.
44.  In 1986 he published The Capitalist Revolution:  Fifty Propositions About Prosperity, Equlaity,& Liberty (the 50 are listed in Reader Item #17, again doing so without the noted delusions).  His central theme is that the modern market economy called capitlism transforms every other aspect of society, that it is the most successful economic mechanism ever devised for improving material standards of large numbers of people, grounding privilege and prestige in economic achievement, doing so in a connection with political democracy and individual autonomy.  By looking at capitalism in both the West and in East Asia, he shows that capitalism is not a mere by-product of specifically Western culture.  By looking at both capitalism and socialism, he demonstrates that inequality is an issue not of capitalism versus socialism but of modernization. 
45.  In 1987, he edited the publication of the fist two volumes of a set aimed at "Capitalism and Equality in America." 
46.  He entitles his introductory essay for Volume I (Capitalism and Equality in America)  "America and the Myth of Inequality."
47.  He entitles his introductory essay for Volume II (Capitalism and Equality in the Third World)  "Betting on Capitlism." 
His points are summarized below in the continuation of statements, based not on theorizing, but on empirical data gathering around this country and around the world by twenty scholars and investigators.
First, about America:
48.  Capitalism is a mode of organizational ecomomic activity, with a flexibility equally amazing to its
a.   friends and discouraging to its critics. .
49.  Capitalism is not understood.  Despite the Marxist and neo-Marxist criticisms, and the predictions for its demise, capitalism not only continues but does so healthily in its homelands and continues to grow in the Third World and is being resurrected in socialist countries.
50.  Marxism's attraction is due to its theoretical force, not to its decency of politics.  It is a militant creed intended to inspire people to revolutionary action to destroy capitalistic society.  It is a myth.

51.  Because in the ongoing debate between capitalism and its critics the issue regularly raised is that of equality, an empirical look at "equality" is needed to overcome the "common sense" accepted by capitalists and their critics alike, that although it has greater econommic efficiency, it cannot be defended on the grounds of equality.  Nonetheless, it is better to be free, with liberty, than have equality.
52.  A key question becomes:  does this trade-off in fact prevail?  Is it in fact empirically valid that inequality is one of the hallmarks of capitalism?
53.  As no one really believes that perfect equality, fully equal shares of the available resources and services for all is possible, the key question is that of relative equality, which means that a comparison must be made not only with the past but with other societies in the present.
54.  America, long a symbol of equality, is today a symbol of the opposite:  a society of crass inequalities, oppressive and exploitative, a bastion of privilege and hierarachy, fostering "racism" and "sexism.".  Is this a fair and accurate assessment?  The evidence, within the comparative framework of the the preceding statement, suggests it is not.
55.  It will not be easy to demonstrate the empirical evidence to those who have a considerable cognitive investment in the proposition that American capitalism is, essentially and irrevocably, a structure of inequalties.
56.  An empirical inquiry into this propositon will not resolve the normative issue of whether American society is "just" or "unjust" in its distribution of resources and services.  And, in such an inquiry, once one has concluded that America is or is not, comparatively speaking, an egalitarian society, is it capitalism that should be either praised or blamed?
57.  An empirical investigation can only investigate, when it comes to equality or equity; thus, the question is of how much equality there is in America, not how much equality there should be.
58.  The data shows, in Berger's quote of Samuel McCracken's statement, that capitalism has nabled Americans to undergo "the liberating transformation.of man from a beast of burden to a master of machines", and refers to the qualiy of life on a number of levels in regards to a number of areas:  cheap and efficient energy, life expenctancy, incidence of diseases, nutrition, the prices of basic commodities, accessibility of inexpensive consumer goods, housing, clothing, leisure, transportation, and communications.
59.  Comparatively speaking, America's poor enjoy a standard of living which, for most of human history, was beyond the dreams of all but royalty, and in some respects (beginning with life expectancy) even beyond the dreams of royalty.
60.  Despite the inequalities (the rich enjoy more of the benefits) the fact remains that the working-class American enjoys access to the good things of life in a measure unparalleled in human history, anywhere or anytime, and this fact in itself has egalitarian implications.
61.  Industrial capitalism in America has raised the standard of living of virtually everyone in the society, an achievement for which the incredibly productive economy of American capitalism is to be credited.  Thus, despite the persisting inequalities of wealth and income, American society has become more egalitarian in the distribution of wealth and income, particularly when compared to other countries, even Sweden.  Much of this is due to government transfer programs, especially those of the 1930's and 1960's, without which there would be twice as many poor.  The conclusion here, then, is that democratic capitalism generates political processes that reduce inequality.
62.  Another way of looking at stratification and social inequality is to look at social mobility.  And, when compared with its own past or with other societies, America has a substantial amount of intergenerational mobility and, to use Vilfredo Pareto's phrase, a "circulation of elites," with movement on the ladder going both up and down.  The egalitarian dynamics of American society is such that the truck driver's son has a better chance of becoming a professional or businessman than the professional or businessman's son, whose greater likelihood is to become a truck driver.
63.  The market dynamics of capitalism have been modified by corporations, the state, labor unions, and other interest groupings.
64.  Compared to other societies and to America's own past, America is a highly egalitarian society and that, as time passes, it is becoming increasingly more so.  Despite this, the myth of inequality, of those seeking a utopian egalitarian society, hate America for not being so.
65.  The egalitarian utopia, whether socialist or capitalist, is a myth of a world in which all will be brothers and sisters, with all barriers broken down, having given way to society-wide solidarity.  No society has or can meet such criteria.  Here the problem of comparison is that the critics refuse to compare the situation to others or to the past, but rather make the comparison with an unattainable ideal. 
66.  For inspiration, the economic and political arenas still turn to the Judaeo-Christian religious tradition, without which there would be no western civilization and no America. 
67.  The question then becomes the degree to which the socio-economic model of America is exportable to other countries.
Next, about the Third World.
We are led next, therefore, to the question of the Third World, which is of particular importance for those of you considering vocations in overseas missions.  Berger's master hypothesis, taken from the critics of capitalism, "is that capitalist developmen fosters inequality."  Berger goes on to say that "coupling this hypothesis with the moral demand that the success of any development model should be assessed in terms of its effects on the condition of the poor, the critics of capitalism have asserted that capitalism either does not alleviate or even worsens the poverty of the lower classes in Third World societies, and that this is the principal reason why it is morally unacceptable."  The authors of the volume have accepted this moral assumption also.  Yet, as a result of their work, "the evidence gathered here lends very little support indeed to the master hypothesis.  Rather, it tends in the opposite direction--toward the proposition that capitalist development generates powerful equalizing forces and that it tends to do so more reliably and more humanely than its empirically socialist or statist competitors.  If this is so, however, the moral equation changes greatly--and (this is very important) it changes even if one concedes, as one must, that all the data are not yet in.  In moral terms, one may quite simply put it this way:  given the evidence thus far, the burden of proof is on the side of the critics of capialism.  Again in moral terms, this burden should be especially troublesome to those who advocate a 'preferential option for the poor'." 
Now lets look at the results of some of these studies as they related to confirming or not confirming the master hypothesis.  Berger will be our guide.
68.  The gigantic laboratory of the world presents various models of capitlist and non-capitalist development, which can be compared, either in terms of capitalism and equality or in terms of the equity consequences of capitalism.
69.  There is no guarantee that, even though the equity effects of American capitalism are high, that they can be a model for export.
70.  Capitalism is but one of the ingredients of the American stew.  Other parts include the democratic institutions derived from England, the Puritan religious and moral heritage, the values and sensibilities of an immigrant society, and so on.
71.  Liberation theologians who proclaim "preferential treatment for the poor" want this as the basic moral criterion for evaluating any society or social strategy.
72.  The data do not support the notion that communist regimes have accelerated the decrease in inequalities.  They have politicized them.  The inequalities of class have been replaced bythe inequalities of political status.
73.  Data suggest that modern technology, with its tremendous power of productive capability, must also be factored in.  Cuba's progress, for instance, could have been predicted in 1960 before the Castro takeover, which liquidates the favored legitimation of the Castro regime.  In other words, it would have happened without him. 
74.  Another study shows the dynamic results that can occur when people in the Third World cities are allowed to participate in small, even tiny, entrepreneuring activities, on their own.  It is shown to be an important vehicle for the poor to improve their condition, a vehicle to enable rural migrants to survive in the city, where their children get a better education and thus improve their chances of mobility. 
75.  Such data show that "philosopher-kings" or "detached but all knowing intellectuals" are not needed to provide centralized planning and decision making, but rather a market economy which allows for any to take the opportunity to improve their chances and especially the chances of their children.  Although socialist countries are allowing such"penny capitalism", it cannot do its greatest work unless it is allowed at the macro-structures as well.
76.  In another Third World study, the whole strategy of having central coordiating mechanisms embodied in law and carrying out the planning is shown to be short-sighted and self-defeating.  In the Third World, these central coordinating mechanisms seek to command the norms and patterns of social interaction, rather than reflect them.  In other words, it is not the economic development that lays the groundwork for political participation but political participation which sets the ground work for economic development.  This study clearly advocates a gradualist approach for developing the kind of grassroots participatory
  patterns for building institutions of accountability and discipline.
77.  Another study, in India, shows that capitalist agriculture increases the chances of improving the condition of both rural and urban poor people.  In Russia, the private plots have produced significantly more per acre than the collectivised forms.
78.  Taiwan and other societies of Each Asia, have demonstrated that capitalism can develop and provide development without also providing what the critics say has to accompany it, high inequality. 
79.  The "East Asian Model" of capitalism has worked in sharp distinction to the "Latin American Model" (which is why the Marxist and neo-Marxist interpretation carry more persuasiveness in Latin America than elsewhere in the Third World).  The difference is the conscious political decisions made in East Asia vs. those made in Latin America.  In East Asia, the political decisions made were for government policy favoring market forces, the rapid absorption of unskilled labor into all sectors of the economy, and the improveement of agricultural incomes in the wake of a comprehensive land reform.  In this comparison we can see the importance of culture.  A country's social and cultral patterns are important, and they must be included in any study of the economic picture.
80.  Many of the authors of this volume readily count equity (in the sense of increasing prosperity reaching all people in a society) as one of the key criteria of success.  The results of their work lead them unhesitatingly to pro-capitalist policies regarding economic and political variables.  No such uniformity exists regarding which cultural variables, but this shows capitalism can succeed in any culture, but not in any economic or political framework.
81.  The researchers, not being able to definitively state what should be done, place their bets on a market system and on government policies that encourage it.  Policies, within the gradualist framework, could include free trade zones, entrepreneurial education, and assistance to the small-business sector.
Which leads to one of the most famous questions of doing social science:  so what?
82.  "There are no certainties in the social sciences.  There are only different degrees of probability.  This, of course, presents the policymaker with a painful dilemma.  The social scientist can always say, 'more research is needed.'  The policy-maker has no such luxury.  He must act under the pressures of the moment (these are urgent indeed in most of these countries) and on the basis of less than conclusive information.  In other words, he must gamble.  If there is one strong suggestion coming out of he present volume, it is that he will be well advised to bet on capitalism.
Berger also has a religious side
83.  The fate of the individual in modern society is largely a religious problem.  The efffort to make sense of modern times in a sociologically responsible fashion can take us outside the formal boundaries of sociology to inform theological concerns.
84.  Religion helps people face the problem of meaningfully ordering their lives.  His sociological assumptions inform his theology and his theological (and, more broadly, metaphyscial) assumptions inform his sociology.
85.  Religion needs to be defined more in substantive than functional terms, if it is to be be properly understood, for it is important apprehend the meaning substance of religion before looking at how it functions in society.
86.  An excellent way to conceptualize the phenomena is to think of the "supernatural" and the "sacred" as two intersecting circles.  What has been traditionally known as religious experience is contained in the common area of the overlapping circles. 
87.  The title of his book The Heretical Imperative contains his central thesis:  "heresy" is from the Greek word "harein" which means choice:  selectivity in the face of religious tradition.Where "fate" once dominated faith, now "choice" does.  To go on believing as if nothing has changed is delusion.  Given the need for choice, a viable option is the "inducive option":  turning from external authority to individual experience.  In other words, resolve the tension between reason and faith by confronting, exploring, comparing, assessing, one's religious experience.  In short:  religious truth has nothing to fear from reason.