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  • Created by: Iveta
  • Created on: 11-03-14 12:49

People 'need' religion

Although research suggests that people have become secularised, there is still evidence to show that they need religion...

1) Functionalists
Parsons claimed that people need religion to provide them with 'moral codes' and guidelines that will teach them to behave in a standeralized and well-mannered way. The 10 commandments from Old Testament list a number of moral codes i.e. 'Thou shalt not kill/steal'. Some people keep these moral codes in the highest regard and chose to socialise their children amongst them

AO2: However, Postmodernists Bauman argues that many people have chosen to follow their own ethical codes and values in contemporary society and they are less likely to turn to religion, showing that not all of them 'need' religion

Malinowski claims that people need religion to help them deal with anxiety i.e. when they experience bereavment the funeral ceremony helps them feel sense of solidarity again and unite with others.
In the Trobriand Islands', people needed religion to help them cope with anxiety when they were fishing in the dangerous and potentially deep waters

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'need' religion

2) Age : People from different age groups need religion.
Old People
: Voas and Crockett
claim that they need religion to help them learn about after-life, they may be lonely so church provides them with a sense of community, they are better able to get in touch with God, etc
Young people may also 'need' religion. Samad claimed that young Muslims need it to help them cope with Islamphobia and provide them with a positive role model, young people experiencing 'status frustration' may need world-rejecting movements, and young people that feel pressure to suceed may turn to 'world-accomodating movements'.
This shows that both age groups are in need of religion

AO2: However, a large number of young people have become secularised so they do not necessarily need religion..

  • Postmodernist Hervieu-Leger claims that young people are experiencing 'culture-amnesia'
  • Bruce claims that there has been a greater emphasis on LEISURE
  • Decline of Sunday Schools i.e. only 1 in 25 children attend
  • Many young people find church to be boring, old-fashion, etc
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'need' religion

3) Stark and Bainsbridge
They argue that people need religion to provide them with 'BIG' questions about after life which only religion can answer

AO2: However, many people DO NOT NEED RELIGION. They have turned to SCIENCE instead.
Weber claims that a large number of people have been secularised in today's society, they have become skeptical about the existance of God
Simialrly, Comte claims that in pre-18th century, people did need religion but in 20th century and onwards, science has become the dominant belief system. This shows that the MAJORITY of the people have been secualarised, they turn to science and so do not need religion

4) ETHNIC people and religion
A large number of ethnic people 'need' religion i.e. Bruce claims that they need it as a part of culture-defence and Herberg claims that they need it as a part of culture transition

AO2: Bruce claims that the generally secular nature of the UK will erode the importance of religion to ethnic people and they will no longer need religion
Moodod claimed that young ethnic ppl dont need religion; over half Chinese dont need it, etc

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'need' religion

5) Women need religion

Miller and Hoffman claim that unemployed and part-time women workers need religion because they have more spare time on their hands. Mothers also attend chirch with their children because they see it as an extension of their mother role and see that it is important to socialise their children into religion. They are also less risk takers so attend church more than men

AO2: Woodhead claimed that since The Equal Pay Oppotunities a large number of women no longer need religion because they have become very WORK-CENTERED so have little time for church

However, the DECLINE OF CHURCH ATTENDANCE shows that people no longer need religion in their lives and in 2005 only 6.3% of the people have attended church

Davie on the other hand argued that they do NEED religion, they just choose to 'believe but not belong' and worship PRIVATELY.

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