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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…

Page 2

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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.


Page 3

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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…

Page 4

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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…

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4 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…

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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…

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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…

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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…


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