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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