Introduction to the sociological critique
- The ongoing debate of whether morality depends on religion leaves us with an argument based upon circular logic, the dilemma can be set out as does God will X because it is good or, is X good because it is willed by God? This is issued throughout the Euthyphro dilemma suggested by Plato answered by this critique....
- the critique aims to prove religion & morality arent linked as we are able to know what is right and what is wrong without religion
- Religion serves to preserve and unite the community
- developed by Durkheim- no link between religion and morality- religion is social control and there is no God.
- it was at a time of industrial revolution & people were beginning to question religion which caused an upstanding of cultural relativism which is how societies develop morals from social make up e.g. historical context(such as diversity thesis, conventialism and pyramid thesis), e.g. Gambia is very led by the muslim faith whereas in Britain it is more secular
- DCT is the opposite view of Durkheims & against religion being apart from morality as God created morality.
It suggests that it's wrong to say God commanded morality & that we have religion to provide structure in society
He said "a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things... beliefs and practices which unite into 1 single moral community call a chruch, all who adhere to them"
Durkheim likens to a religious community to a primitive clan that worships a totem
From this he said he could then identify the universal character of religion which can be seen worldwide.- Deduced that all religions were linked and based upon the same things. The clan and God are one of the same hence there is no seperate entity called God and thus>>>God doesnt exist
The totem example shows how role models have been created, they're more man made in the mind, e.g. Jesus.
Therefore moral code is false and is result from a social creation
Ninteenth century sunday schools
- Attracted many children and theiraim was to produce citizebs who were controlled, disciplined and accepted in their social place
- They sang hymns and reinforcered their place in society- supports the idea of religion being needed for social control
- supported Durkheim
- Marx argued that God was an invention of the human mind in order to satisfy emotional needs
- religion was to keep harmony and peace between lower, middle and upper classes.
- so ruling classes used religion to dominate their subjects offering them an illusion of excape
- religion is so fully deteremined by economics that its "pointless to consider any of its beliefs or doctrines on their own merits"
- 'opium of people stupelfies the mind' & persuades people to accept injustice
Strengths of sociological critique
- critique seems logical to athiests and agnostics
- rational explanation based on the idea of religion being a poor source to morality
- religion has a lack of empirical evidence
- more appropriate for todays society, no need for out-dated beliefs
- Book of Job- God allwed himself to put evil on Job and therefore can be immoral himself
- coincides with adaptions of evolutionary change over time, takes into consideration the situation & social make up
Weaknesses of the critique
- The theory is modelled on an aboriginal primitive clan and is therefore not a true reflection of modern beliefs & all societies
- It doesnt explain how people like Martin Lurther King and the OT Prophets are sometimes prepared to go against the law and norms of society