Society would be better off without religion’

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‘Society would be better off without religion’. Assess this assertion with reference to the work of Durkheim, Weber and Marx.

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`Society would be better off without religion'. Assess this assertion with
reference to the work of Durkheim, Weber and Marx.
One may agree with this assertion to certain extend as Marx states that "the sigh of the
oppressed creature, the opium of the people' which means that religion is used to comfort
the working class. Religion therefore functions to keep the working class down, retaining the
status quo, and coping with inequality. This benefits one section of society but not all of it,
and enables widespread suffering to continue. As most famously stated by the Christopher
Hitchens, Mother Teresa is the "lover of poverty not the poor" and carried on with stating
"She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known
cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from
a livestock version of compulsory reproduction?" After the terrible incident of Bhopal
Mother Teresa attended to the place and told the people of Bhopal to forgive as Jesus did.
Even recently Queen highlighted importance of forgiveness in her speech "the concepts of
service and of sacrifice as shown in the life and teachings of the one who made himself
nothing, taking the very form of a servant. " Some may say that religion is used, like in this
case, to prevent the working class rising against the factory owners. Famously, Jomo
Kenyatta, first president of Kenya stated "When the missionaries came to Africa, they had
the Bible and we had the land. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened
them, we had the Bible in our hand, and they had the land". This shows that religion is
misused in some cases to overrule a particular country. Nevertheless, Marx stated that, by
simply selling their work for wages, "workers simultaneously lose connection with the object
of labour and become objects themselves. Workers are devalued to the level of a
commodity- a thing..." Christianity teaches that those who gather up riches and power in this
life will almost certainly not be rewarded in the next "it is harder for a rich man to enter the
Kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle .." while those
who suffer oppression and poverty in this life, while cultivating their spiritual wealth, will be
rewarded in the Kingdom of God.
However, one may also disagree with this assertion to certain extend as religion certainly
has benefits as campaigners like Oscar Romero and Mother Teresa worked against the
poverty because of Christianity. If weber is right, religion is one of the drives behind the work
ethic, so therefore has positive connotations. Weber argued that religion created hard work
ethic. This is the idea that your life is and whether you are going to heaven is already decided
by God. Calvinist believed that only a few were chosen for heaven. This created anxiety-no
one knew if they were chosen. Working hard in your job was a solution to this anxiety.
Weber said that the ascetic ideal helped create a hard work ethic. This is what capitalism is
based on, thus increasing the popularity of capitalism and resulting in religion causing on
indirect change. Mrs Thatcher famously used the story of the Good Samaritan and story of
the talents to promote her ideas. She claimed that importance of making money was
promoted in the Bible in the story of the talents as lazy servant was told that he should have
worked harder and she stated," No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only
had good intentions; he had money as well". Surely, hard work ethic is also highlighted in
Islam and Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "The Momin dies with his sweat on his
brow." [An-Nasai]. This clearly indicates that a momin should work hard throughout his life.
Durkheim defined the religion as "a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred
things, i.e., things set apart and forbidden--beliefs and practices which unite in one single

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Church, all those who adhere to them. He believed that religion
was good for society as he defined it clearly it unites society and as Queen stated recently
about her view about the Church of England " as a sign of what holds us together what
commits us to each other".
To conclude, I disagree with the assertion as religion is a factor that unites the society and
creates the hard working ethic which needed for better society.…read more

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