Role of Religion

  • Created by: FCarter
  • Created on: 30-05-19 10:00
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  • Role of Religion
    • Marxist
      • Marx and Engels - Social control, ruling class ideology, and compensation
        • Social control: Religion distorts reality by encouraging the belief that people are dependent on supernatural beings or sacred powers.
          • This discourages the realisation that working for social change is possible, as people rely on other things
        • Ruling class ideology: It obscures the true nature of reality, by creating a false class consciousness
          • People's religious beliefs reflect their alienation
        • Compensation: It promises happiness, which is an illusion.
          • True happiness and fulfilment are only possible when the exploited rise up
            • STRENGTH= Halevy claims Methodism distracted the 19th century British proletariat from their class grievances by encouraging them to see enlightenment in spirituality
      • Neo-Marxist, Antonio Gramsci - hegemony and counter-hegemony (1968)
        • Religious beliefs and practices could develop and be popularisedsupport working class consciousness and liberation
        • WEAKNESS = plenty of examples of religion thriving in Communistsocities
      • Neo-Marxist, Otto Maduro - liberation theology
        • Religion allows a pathway for the oppressed to take their discontent to the churches
        • The anguish of the oppressed may be reflected by members of the clergy
        • WEAKNESS = As a result of recruiting from the upper-class, the Church has lost contact with ordinary people
    • Functionalist
      • Emile Durkheim - Collective consciousness
        • Society cannot survive without a collective consciousness.
        • Religion strengthens social solidarity by repeating rituals that unify and bind together society's members
        • STRENGTH = based upon empirical evidence of Australian aborigines
        • WEAKNESS = only found one example in a primitive society
      • Bronislaw Malinowski - emotional stress; life crises & uncontrollable events
        • Minimises the potential disruption of death through a forceful assertion of immortality.Without this, nothing would counteract the sense of meaninglessness
          • STRENGTH= based upon empirical evidence of Trobriand islanders
          • WEAKNESS = only found one example in a primitive society
      • Talcott Parsons - universe of meaning
        • Promotes social solidarity and stability.
        • Also helps people to adjust to their personal circumstances
        • Without religion, injustices would threaten to undermine people's sense that life has meaning.
        • STRENGTH= similar to Animism and Naturism in that it supports the idea that religion answers questions
        • WEAKNESS = our universal meaning now comes from science, rather than religion
      • Neo-Functionalist,Robert Belllah - civil religion
        • Civil religion = a belief system that attaches sacred qualities to a secular society
        • Functionally important to have unification
        • STRENGTH= lots of examples in American society
        • WEAKNESS = conventional religions are still thriving in America
    • Feminist
      • Radical Feminist, Simone de Beauvoir - Female oppression
        • Oppressorscan use religion to control the oppressed group
        • Religion also serves as a way of compensating women for their 2nd class status
      • Radical Feminist, Mary Daly - Goddess religions
        • Existing religions are based on an "inadequate God"
        • Argued for a new feminist spirituality, which can lead to the revolutionary overthrow of dominant, male gods
      • Liberal Feminist, Jean Holm - Progress to greater equality
        • Patriarchal oppression of women within religion is not universal
          • 1. Some religions are generally patriarchal but aspects of them can still provide significant opportunities for women
          • 2. Few religions have always been relatively egalitarian; for example, Quakerism
          • 3. Patriarchal aspects of some religions are changing
      • Radical feminist, Nawal El Saadawi - Dominationof religion by patriarchy
        • Discusses female oppression in the Arab world
        • Religion is one aspect of a wider patriarchal system which needs to be overthrown
        • Female oppression is not essentially due to religion but to patriarchy
    • Postmodern
      • Castells - Religious Fundamentalists
        • Reached outwards in search of a collective form of religiosity which they tend to practice in the public sphere
          • A defensive reaction to modernisation and globalisation
          • Provide certainty in an uncertain world by selectively retrieving traditional religious truths
      • Zygmunt Bauman - New Age Movements
        • Turned inwards in search of an individualised expression of religiosity which they tend to practice in the private sphere
          • The postmodern condition has produced a crisis of meaning
          • Traditional religious meta narratives cannot deal with this crisis, but new religions can restore meaning
      • Lyotard - Atheism
        • Rejected any form of religiosity in favour of atheism
          • Postmodern society is characterised by loss of confidence in meta narratives
          • Religious authority and certainty have been undermined, their claim to the truth has been questioned
    • Social Action
      • CAPITALISM (Calvin's influential religious teachings, popularised and interpreted, had significant consequence for the economic system.
        • BELIEFS (John Calvin's teachings on predestination)
        • PRACTICES (required to pursue an intensively active life of labour)
        • They encouraged among believers a rational, calculating, efficient, and highly committed approach to work which provided Capitalism with the soil to take root

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