At the beginning of May, 2012 prof. emeritus Eileen Barker from London School of Economics and Political Science visited Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas to read lectures. Eileen Barker read lectures "Brainwashing, mind control, recruting or conversion? The questions of influence and/or free will upon joining "Cults"" and "Sociological research methods". Milda Ališauskienė interviewed Eileen Barker on May 6th in the airport, while waiting for bording the plane. Eileen Barker reflected on sociology, reductionism, relationship between State and Church, new religious movements and other themes.
Q: How can religion and society benefit from the Sociology of Religion?
A: There are a number of ways. Sociology of religion is a subset of Sociology discipline, and Sociology is about how individuals affect and are affected by the society, society being the traction between individuals. Sociology of religion is about trying to find, as objectively as possible, who believes what, and under what circumstances, and what the consequences are of those beliefs. So that is fairly wide, and we tend to define religion very widely, to include what other people call quasi-religions or pseudo-religions, and even non-religions, like atheism, which contains some very strong beliefs. Some people would include ideologies as well.