· Religion provides collectiveness conscience which is the shared norms, values, beliefs and knowledgeà Individuals need to make co-operation possible- without it which society would disintegrate.
· Religion is the origin of human thought, reason and science.
· Study of Arunta- totem serves to reinforce the group’s solidarity and sense of belonging.
· Durkheim’s theory may apply better to small scale societies.
· Postmodernists say it cannot apply to contemporary society
· He focuses on the role of religion in dealing with situations of emotional stress that threatens social solidarity.
· He identifies two sorts of events that may create this kind of stress: Life crises and Actions that cannot be controlled/predicted.
· Malinowski has been criticized for exaggerating the importance of religious ritual in helping people to cope with situations of stress and uncertainty.
· Malinowski uses data from small scale, non-literate societies to support his ideas.
· Religious beliefs provide guidelines for human action
· Parsons sees religion as dealing with problems that disrupt social life-problems such as foreseen, unpredictable events and situations of uncertainty.
· Religion provides a range of answers to questions about suffering, evil and so on.
· It emphasises the positive contributions of religion to society and ignores its dysfunctional aspect
· Neglects instances where religion can be seen as a divisive and disruptive force.
· In many religions men dominate the powerful positions of the public spheres, while women do most of the behind the scenes work (in Hinduism only men can become Brahmanic priests) .
· 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.
· Accepts that women are exploited through religion; for example, Islamic men in some countries use religion to justify barbaric practices such as ‘female circumcision’
· Believes it is not religion itself which is to blame.
· The real problem is the manipulation and misinterpretation of religious teaching by men for their own benefit.
· Religion is an instrument of male domination. Men usually control religious organisations and claim that their authority comes from God; (kings used to rule by ‘divine right’).
· Religion gives women a false belief that their suffering will be rewarded in heaven. It deceives women into thinking they are equal to men whilst in reality they are disadvantaged as the ‘second sex’.