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Religion in


Revision Guide

Jennifer O'Sullivan



Four main strands:
1. The sacred and profane
2. Totemism
3. Cognitive functions of religion
4. The collective conscience

Page 2

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The key feature of Religion was a fundamental distinction between the sacred and profane found in
Sacred set apart and forbidden and inspire feelings of awe, fear and wonder. Surrounded by taboos
and prohibitions.
Profane have no special significance, ordinary and mundane

Religion also involves definite rituals in relation…

Page 3

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Malinowski has been criticized for exaggerating the importance of religious ritual in helping
people to cope with situations of stress and uncertainty.


Parsons argues that religious beliefs provide guidelines for human action and standards
against which people's conduct can be evaluated. The Ten Commandments for
example- provide the…

Page 4

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Holm notes that women's second class status is often related to female biology and sexuality. For
example, Islamic women cannot touch the Qu'ran when menstruating and Hindu women can't
approach family shrines when pregnant.

El Saadawi
Accepts that women are exploited through religion; for example, Islamic men in some

Page 5

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Religion and communism
Marx suggests that in communist societies religion will disappear
It will not be required as a tool of oppression or to maintain the false class consciousness

Support Marxism

The caste system in traditional India was justified by Hindu religious beliefs; whilst in medieval Europe
Kings and Queens…

Page 6

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Religion as a conservative force
1. maintaining the status quo, preventing rapid social change
2. Reinforcing and promoting traditional beliefs/ values e.g. anti- contraception/abortion/gay
marriage in the Catholic Church. Hinduism promotes male domestic authority.

Feminists would see religion as a conservative force because in many religions…

Page 7

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De Beauvoir would also agree with this view as she notes how men claim their `authority comes fro
Go' this promotes traditional belief.
Patriarchal values are kept which feminists disagree with.

Marxists would see religion as a conservative force as Religion teaches people not to question their
position within the…

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The Position of Religious Fundamentalism

· Fundamentalists believe that religion can maintain traditional beliefs but also change society
· They want to revert back to a `pure' form of religion
· E.g. in Iran there had been some liberalisation of women, then the regime changed to an
Islamic fundamentalist Government…

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Robertson argues that there has been an increase in church state tensions throughout the world.
There is little room for religious concerns in the world of international trade and diplomacy, so
governments may come into conflict with the moral concerns of domestic churches.

Stark and Bainbridge are critical of…

Page 10

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Move away from the world rejecting it, segregate themselves from wider society. E.g.
Heaven's Gate.
Highly critical of the outside worlds and want to change it
Expect massive commitment from members and often live in isolated communities
Members of Hare Krishna must shave their heads, wear massive robes and chant…






Sophie Horobin

this is so useful! thankyou!


Just what i was looking for :D Thank-you!


this is great, thank you soo much!


RUBBISH....joking :P


Very useful resource, just the sort of thing I was looking for!


Will this help for all of Unit 3? Beliefs in society for aqa exam?


This is absolutely amazing, all the detail is so helpful. Thank you so much. 


this is great!

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