Theories of Religion

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  • Theories of Religion
    • Maxism
        • Ideology is a belief system that distorts the people's perception of reality.
        • In Marx view, religion operates as an ideological weapon used by the ruling class to legitimate the suffering of the poor as something inevitable and god-given.
          • This creates a false class consciousness
        • Lenin believes that the ruling class uses religion cynically to manipulate the masses and keep them from overthrowing capitalism.
        • Religion also legitimates the power and privelege of the dominant class by making their position seem made by God.
      • Marx sees religion as a feature only of class-divided society.
        • Marx sees religion as a product of alienation which involves becoming separated form something that one has produced or created.
        • Religion acts as an opiate to full the pain of exploitation.
          • The afterlife creates an illusory happiness that distract attention from the true source of suffering - capitalism.
    • Feminism
        • Places of worship often segregate the sexes and marginalise women, women's participation may be restricted because of taboos around menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth
          • Sacred texts describe gods and prophets to be male and are usually written and interpreted by men, Stories often reflect anti-female stereotypes such as Eve being the reason for the fall of humanity.
          • Religious laws may given women fewer rights, dress codes and decision making.
        • Feminists argue that women have not always been subordinate to men within religion,
          • Armstrong argues that early religious placed women in the centre such as eath mother goddesses and female priesthgoods.
        • Nawal El Saadawi argues that religion is not the direct cause of women;s subordination.
          • Patriarchy began to influence and re-shape religion which is the cause of females oppression.
      • Feminists regard religion as a patriarchal institution that reflects and perpetuates this inequality.
        • Woodhead argues that there are 'religious forms of feminism' in which women are able to gain freedom and respect.
          • For example, the hijab, often seen as a form of oppression but is actually a means of liberation to the wearer.
        • Brusco found in Colombia tht belonging to a Pentecostal group can be empowering for some women, as a strongly held belief is that men should respect women.
          • This gives women the power to influence men's behaviour.


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