Functionalist views on Religion

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  • Functionalism
    • Force for conservatism-prevents/inhibits social change (forceful conservatism)
    • Functions
      • Creates social harmony
      • Emotional support (funeral)
      • Provides security (heaven)
        • Helps us come to terms with life changing events
      • Sense of togetherness
      • Collective conscience
    • Malinowski
      • Religion helps us to deal with emotional stress (births/deaths)
      • Relieves tension and recreates stability
      • Religious ceremonies helps us deal with this stress
    • CRITICISMS
      • Dated (we now live in a multi-cultural, pluralistic society)
      • Ignores the negatives of religion
      • No longer a value consensus as religious conflicts do occur
        • Much functionalist analysis is based upon the idea that a society has one religion, but many modern societies are multicultural, multi faith societies
    • Conclusions
      • Functionalist view is that religion is essential in all societies
      • Reflects a collective conscience
      • Believe that religion is a positive part of society
        • Provides important,beneficial functions for all

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