"Functionalist believe that the function of religion is the contribution it makes to full filling the functional prerequisites such as social order and social solidarity."
- This means religion promotes norms and values into society.
- It does this by teaching right and wrong e.g. The 10 Commandments, so we have shared norms and values.
The Sacred and Profane
- SACRED: Inspires a feeling of awe and wonder and carry significance.
- PROFANE: Items of no special significance.
Role of rituals e.g. praying is to bring people together in a collective conciousness to worship the same norms and values reinforce solidarity and group belonging. Durkheim called this study Toteism.
COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS OF RELIGION:
- Origin of human thought. as it provides us with categories and concepts such as causation which help to make sense of the world.
EVALUATION OF DURKHEIM:
- Not relevant in today's society (multicultural or secular Britain.)
- Only relevant in primitive religions.
- WORSELY: Inaccuracy about the sacred & profane as some religions share totems.
- Studied small scale non-religious societies (clans.)
- Looked at religions Psychological functions- help cope with stress e.g. people go to Church as the funeral ritual help people cope with death, the same as heaven.
- Lagoon Fishing is safe, no ritual is performed.
- Ocean Fishing is risky, rituals are performed.
- Religion gives use value consensus- beliefs, attitudes and values as well as norms.
- Religion gives us meaning to life, answers ultimate questions e.g. God created the world in 7 days to help explain how we came about.
- Religions helps disruption in life, giving us social order and social stability e.g. funeral helps us to deal with death.
Evaluation of Functionalism
- Do identify roles religion play in society e.g. shared norms and values.
- Gives a sense of meaning to life.
- Criticise for seeing world through 'rose tinted glasses' e.g. Don't see oppression or war that religion causes.
- Feminists argue that it causes patriarchal oppression.
- It's not relevant in secular society.
- Not relevant to society with more than one religion.
- Sacred texts e.g. The Bible are not as relevant in Society today.