Theories (and weaknesses) of Religion

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  • Theories of religion
    • Marx
      • 'Opiate of the masses'
        • Abercrombie & Turner- doersn't function to control the population
      • Reproduces ruling class ideology
      • It's a mechanism of social control
      • It justifies inequality- the Caste Sytem
      • False Class  Consciousness
      • Ignores positive functions of religion
    • Functionalist
      • Durkheim
        • 'The Sacred and the Profane'
        • Totemism
        • Collective Conscience
        • Collective Worship
      • Parsons
        • Religion causes social stability by relieving the tension and frustration that could disrupt social order
      • Malinowski
        • Life Crises- Triobrand Islanders and fishing- rituals
      • Bellah
        • Civil Religion- belief system that attaches sacred qualities to a society- 'Americanism'
      • Ignores religion as a source of conflict- N Ireland
      • Ignores women's oppression
    • Marxist
      • Maduro (Neo Marxist)
        • Religion isn't always a conservative force- can bring about social revolution
          • Liberation Theory
      • Gramsci
        • Hegemony
      • Daly- Religion = misogyny and patriarchy
    • Feminist
      • Religious organisations are mostly male dominated. Armstrong- women's exclusion from priesthood is evidence of marginalisation
      • Religious laws and customs often give women fewer rights than men
      • Woodhead
        • Argues there are ways in which women use religion to gain freedom and respect


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