Religion as a Conservative Force or Force of Change revision summary

Summary of notes on religion as a force for change or conservative force, points could be used in an essay. Text is enlarged so could be used as a poster.

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  • Created on: 06-06-14 15:07
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Religion as a conservative force-it defends
traditional customs and functions to keep things as they are eg. Catholic
church forbids abortion and homosexuality. Religions uphold traditional
family values like the man is the head of the family. Hinduism endorses
arranged marriage. Functionalists- religion maintains social stability
through promoting social solidarity and value consensus. Marxists and
feminists- religion is an ideology that supports the existing social
structure and keeps control of the powerful. Marx- religion is
conservative as it disguises inequality to prevent a revolution and the
downfall of capitalism. Religion legitimises patriarchal power and the
subordination of women.
Weber and force for change- Calvinism helped bring
about capitalism in the 16th/17th century. Past societies were greedy but
modern capitalism is based on profit for its own sake not consumption-
the spirit of capitalism. Calvinists believed in predestination that God
had chosen which souls to save, but divine transcendence meant they
didn't know if this was them. Therefore they lived a life of asceticism
(abstinence, self discipline etc) their wealth performed psychological
functions allowing them to cope with salvation panic and they took their
wealth to be gods favour. They reinvested their wealth in their
businesses which prospered so they got more profit etc.
Hinduism and Confucianism- China and India were
materially more advanced than Europe but Capitalism didn't take off
there due to the lack of religious belief. In India Hinduism was like
Calvinism and it favoured renunciation. However it directed its followers
away from the material world and towards the spiritual world. Therefore
it lacked the drive to accumulate wealth that capitalism needs.
However Kautsky- capitalism preceded rather than followed Calvinism.
Tawney- technological change brought about Calvinism.

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Religion and social protest- Bruce- American civil
rights movement demonstrates social change. Dr Martin Luther King
made the church the meeting place and sanctuary from violence and
prayer meetings and hymns were a source of unity against oppression (it
was an ideological resource) Religious organisations contributed to social
change through taking the moral high ground, channelling dissent, acting
as an honest broker and mobilising public opoinion.
New Christian Right- want to take America back to God.…read more


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