Religion as a conservative force

  • Created by: Loulour
  • Created on: 02-06-15 12:47

How is religion a conservative force?

1. In the sense of 'traditional'. Eg, defending traditional customs, institutions, or moral views.

2. Functions to conserve or preserve things as they are, maintaining the status quo.

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Religion's Conservative Beliefs & Functions


  • Most religions have traditional conservative beliefs about moral issues and oppose changes that allow individuals more freedom.
  • the Catholic Church forbids divorce, abortion and artificial contraception.
  • Most religions uphold 'family values', supporting a traditional patriarchal domestic division of labour.
  • Hinduism endorses the practice of arranged marriage.


  • Only conservative in the second sense of the word - functioning to conserve or preserve things as they are.
  • This view is held by; functionalists, marxists and feminists.
  • They each argue that it contributes to social stability.
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Religion and Consensus

  • Functionalists see religion as maintaining social stability and preventing disintegration.
  • Eg, promoting social solidarity by creating value consensus and helping individuals deal with disruptive stresses.
  • Marxists & Feminists see religion as an ideology that supposrts existing social structure & as a means of social control in the interests of the powerful.
  • Religion and capitalism - Marx sees religion as an ideology preventing social change. By legitimating or disguising inequality, it creates false consciousness in the working class & prevents revolution.
  • Religion & patriarchy - Feminists see religion as legitimating patriarchal power & maintains women's subordination in the family and society.
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