A2 Perspectives of Religion

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  • Created on: 28-05-14 10:55
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  • Perspectives on religion
    • Functionalist
      • Stability and change
        • There are many links to religion and social change. Some groups see religion as leading to social change rather than stability
        • Functionalists question how much religion contributes to society. Religion meets society's needs by providing a shared culture
      • Parsons
        • Religious beliefs provide guidelines for human action and sets standards as to how people should live their lives.
          • STUDY::  Parsons found in USA, Christian religious beliefs underpin the value consensus even for non-Christians because norms and law originate from Christianity.
        • He also believed Religion is used to provide answers to questions about suffering and evil in order to help society run smoothly.
      • Durkheim
        • The main purpose for religion is to reinforce the shared conscience by defining values as sacred, religion gains more power.
          • Through collective worship such as simultaneous prayer and song religion is said to strengthens social solidarity
        • Durkheim - all societies distinguish between:
          • STUDY:: Durkheim studied Australian Aborigines, each group had its own totem which they worshiped. The totem represented their social group so he argues that by worshiping the totem they are worshiping society.
          • Profane -  objects and activities which are ordinary and aren't treated as special.
            • Sacred - objects and rituals which are regarded as having special significance and are treated with awe.
              • Sacred objects are generally seen as sacred because they have a symbolic meaning behind them to represent a certain group or meaning,
          • Sacred - objects and rituals which are regarded as having special significance and are treated with awe.
            • Sacred objects are generally seen as sacred because they have a symbolic meaning behind them to represent a certain group or meaning,
          • Functionalist
            • Stability and change
              • There are many links to religion and social change. Some groups see religion as leading to social change rather than stability
              • Functionalists question how much religion contributes to society. Religion meets society's needs by providing a shared culture
            • Parsons
              • Religious beliefs provide guidelines for human action and sets standards as to how people should live their lives.
                • STUDY::  Parsons found in USA, Christian religious beliefs underpin the value consensus even for non-Christians because norms and law originate from Christianity.
              • He also believed Religion is used to provide answers to questions about suffering and evil in order to help society run smoothly.
            • Durkheim
              • The main purpose for religion is to reinforce the shared conscience by defining values as sacred, religion gains more power.
                • Through collective worship such as simultaneous prayer and song religion is said to strengthens social solidarity
              • Durkheim - all societies distinguish between:
                • STUDY:: Durkheim studied Australian Aborigines, each group had its own totem which they worshiped. The totem represented their social group so he argues that by worshiping the totem they are worshiping society.
                • Profane -  objects and activities which are ordinary and aren't treated as special.
              • Evaluation
                • Functionalists see society as a way to integrate society.
                • Critics argue they ignore the possibility that religion can OTHER effects are their views may not be applicable to ALL societies
                  • (Disagreements over religion have caused conflicts, feminists argue it maintain patriarchy, Marxists believe religion help benefit the ruling class rather than the working class)
        • Evaluation
          • Functionalists see society as a way to integrate society.
          • Critics argue they ignore the possibility that religion can OTHER effects are their views may not be applicable to ALL societies
            • (Disagreements over religion have caused conflicts, feminists argue it maintain patriarchy, Marxists believe religion help benefit the ruling class rather than the working class)
      • Marxist
        • Mark described religion as 'opium for the people'
          • Provides a relief of pain and suffering and is like a drug that distorts reality
            • It promises eternal like in heaven to those who follow and accept the beliefs of religion
            • Makes a virtue of suffering by promising paradise in heaven to those who suffered on earth "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to go to heaven"
            • Offers hope in supernatural intervention to end suffering (Jehovah's witnesses believe judgement day will come and non-believers will be punished
        • Religion is a form of alienation as humans create an alien being (God) to be all powerful and controls the earth meaning humans don't make their own decisions as they live by God's rules
        • Religion is used as social control. It creates a false class conscience  which justify the position of the ruling class which prevent the working class from rebelling against the current capitalist society.
      • Feminism
        • Religion maintains patriarchy
          • Traditionally men were only allowed to become priests/ bishops/ popes
            • HOWEVER, in recent years women have been allowed to become priests
          • Some religions allow men to be dominant over women by forcing women to dress and act in a certain way
            • In some cases the men and women sit separately in their place of worship, the women have to sit at the back.
        • Saadawl said (after herself experiencing female circumcision) that inequality isn't the result of the religion but the misinterpretation of the holy text which distort true beliefs and are used to justify exploitation of women

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