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David G. LoConto

Abstract

Early American sociology focused on morality and utopia as key elements in its underlying assumptions and goals. Yet the fledgling discipline struggled to agree on how to proceed. Differing perspectives from a diverse body of scholars led sociology through an amorphous beginning. For some, sociology was a means of intervention that would lead to social progress. For others, sociology was the advocate for laissez-faire policies that would allow natural laws to lead to a utopia. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate how the origins of American sociology and many of the early social thinkers in America, specifically the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce, was consistent with and influenced the ideas of Shailer Mathews and his quest for a Christian sociology. Focusing on the connection with pragmatism, a Christian sociology from Mathews’ perspective would recognize that 1) there is a foundation for all that is, specifically a divine being; 2) that process is the guiding force found within all existence; 3) that humans were created to be social; 4) that one cannot differentiate between the individual and society; 5) that the group is an intrinsic part of natural law; and lastly, 6) that morals emerge from the processes found in the universe.

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Keywords

Christian Sociology, pragmatism, Shailer Mathews, Jesus, process, social

Section
Articles