Topic 2: Religion & Social Change

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Religion & Social Change
Religion can be seen as a conservative force
1) It can uphold traditional beliefs and how society should be
2) Can Maintain Status Quo
Religions Conservative BELIEFS
- Most religions have traditional conservative beliefs
- Morals
- Catholic churches forbid abortion, divorce, gays
- Upholds family values ­ Nuclear family & Patriarchal Households
- Hindu's ­ Arranged Marriage
Religions Conservative FUNCTIONS
- Maintains status quo + social stability
Religion & Consensus:
Functionalists see it as a conservative force
Prevents disintegrating
Reduces societies collapsing
Creates Values
MARXS + Feminists see it as an ideological function
Social Control + BAD Status Quo
Religion & Capitalism ( Marxism ) _ Religion & Patriachy ( Feminism
- Marxs see it as a conservative ideology - See it as a patriarchal conservative force
- Prevents riots and breaking out - Legitimates Patriarchy
- Legitimates inequality + exploitation - Maintains Male Power
- Prevents revolution
- Prevents

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Weber: Religion as a force of change
- Some sociologists believe religion helps change
Marxs Weber believes Calvinism helped bring major change.
- Modern Capitalism
- The spirit of Capitalism
- Profit into business process
Calvinists was a religion, and Weber believes its beliefs helped
bring about Modern Capitalism.…read more

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Hinduism & Confucianism
- Weber isn't saying Calvinism is the only reason for modern capitalism
Economic Factors
Natural Resources
Money Economy
Law System
However some societies had high economic factors but still failed to develop capitalism
- China + India more developed but failed ( Lack of religious beliefs)
Calvinism = Ascetic Lifestyle + This worldly religion
= Capitalism
- Weber: debates with Marx's ghost
- Capitalism preceded, rather than followed Calvinism
- Tawney: Technologies the reason for capitalism
Capitalism didn't develop…read more

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Religion + Social Protest
Bruce: Interested in relationship between religion + social
2 main things that tried to change society:
- American Civil Rights Movements
- The New Christian Right
American Civil Rights Movement
- Black civil rights movement ­ 1950'S ­ 1960'S
- Religiously motivated social change
- Blacks were denied legal and political rights
- Rosa Parks (1955) : Black civil right activists
- Protests
- Churches provided meetings places + sanctuary's from whites
- Linked white + black Christian values to become…read more

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Reasons Religious Organisations Can Support Protests
Taking The Moral High Ground:
- Black clergy pointed out to white people that they preach "Love Thy Neighbour"
Yet they're against the black community?
Religiously shamed the whites making them realise
Channelling Dissent
It's a place to express political views, channel anger
Acting As Honest Broker
Churches seen as standing above politics
Churches are the connection for blacks and whites, the middle man
Mobilising Public Opinion
Churches can spread the opinions across countries
Helps gain support
The New…read more

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Seen as relative autonomy
- Beliefs can be partly independent of economic base
- Religion can be a dual character
- Can be seen as a force of change
- Religion is not entirely negative
"Soul of Soulless"
"Heart of a heartless world"
- Religion can humanise the world
- Religion does stop change by hiding inequality
It can also challenged the status quo
"Black Slavery"
See's religion as a dual character ­ both positive and negative
Inspires protests ­ Makes…read more

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Strong Commitment to poor
Factors that lead to liberation theology:
- Deepening of rural poverty + slums
- Human rights got abused ( Imprisonment, torture, death squads)
There was a growth in commitment from the priests for the poor.
- Liberation theology set out to change
- Catholicism supported status quo
- Helped poor establish support groups
- Literacy programmes to educate
- Brought about DEMOCRACY in Latin America

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What is this movement?
- A weakening or disruption of the old social order
- Social unrest and loss of power result in religious movements
- Millenarian movement believes in the coming of new world
- Supernatural action
- Religious born of frustration, despair or bewilderment
- Seek to cut through a hopeless situation with a promise of the millennium
- Promise of good government, great happiness and prosperity.
- Millenarists call for complete change.…read more


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