• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the Marxist approach to Religion with the Weberian.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Sociology Religion Annabelle Atkinson "Compare the Marxist approach to Religion with the Weberian." Karl Marx believed that people's religious beliefs reflect their alienation. In pre - socialised societies, people are in a alienated relationships with their work, with the products of their work and each other. Religious beliefs therefore arise in a response to, and as a protest against, people's lack of control of their destiny and their dehumanisation and oppression. In Marx's view, religion is the self - consciousness and self - feeling of man who has either not found himself or has already lost himself again. He believes therefore that if the alienation and exploitation associated with social classes is eradicated religion will no longer be needed and cease to exist. This argument can be developed in a number of ways. First, religion distorts reality by encouraging the belief that people are dependent upon supernatural forces. This means that because events are out of our control there is little people can do apart from trying to influence these powers through prayer or sacrifice. In this way religion obscures the human responsibility for social inequality and thereby discourages the realisation that working for social change may be possible. ...read more.

Middle

He considered that the underlying principle behind modernisation is rational, scientific thought - the use of the most effective means to achieve given ends. Applied to technology and to organisation, rational thought has restructured the social world. Equally to the point, applied to the human race's understanding of itself and its place in the social universe, rational thought has undermined religion and replaced it with various secular and, largely, materialistic explanations of our existence and relationship to nature. Loss of intellectual authority and status has helped and will continue to erode the moral authority of the church. However, both see this change differently. Marx views the decline of religion as a positive change. He argued that the proletariat will see through the fog of bourgeois ideology and become revolutionary. He goes onto claim that the proletariat's revolution will be made by the majority. This will enable a classless society to be formed in which the ideals put forward in the French Revolution will be fully realised: freedom will replace oppression; fulfilment alienation; equality inequality; fraternity self - interest. Marx called such a society communism. ...read more.

Conclusion

Weber's main theoretical point is that ideas can change history, and in doing so can contribute to changes in the material context of life. It will be remembered that the whole trend of Marx's analysis of religious ideas is in the opposite direction. He sees them as primarily as justifying existing social and economic circumstances, and certainly not as providing a major source of historical change. Instead he believes religion was an ideological pall intended to obscure new and different ideas. But Marx did recognise that new ideas could be developed. Human consciousness is able to react thoughtfully and creatively to experience, particularly everyday work experience. Socialism itself had to be "thought of" before it could become a reality. However, for Marx, ideas are formed within, and structured by socio - economic material reality. Socialism can only become possible when society is economically and socially developed to the point where socialist ideas are seen to be realistic. Weber's studies of religion are also important from the methodological point of view. As an exercise in comparative sociology; they rank alongside Durkheim's study of suicide. Weber's conclusion was that the relationship is one of variety. Religion can help to cause change or impede it; it might be used to support the status quo or against it. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. "What are the main strengths and weaknesses of Marxist histories"?

    Also with the capitalist system, came competition. This drove the capitalists to cut the costs as much as possible. This is done through cutting the wages of the labourers. It is then evident that the public could no longer afford even the products they themselves produce.

  2. 'Socialists have disagreed on both the means and ends of socialism' - Discuss

    There were economic crises which came from cyclical crises of overproduction, which in turn led to stagnation of the economy and unemployment.

  1. What exactly is Weber's Protestant Ethic Thesis?

    While Weber agreed that the economy played a key role in the emergence of capitalism, he felt that something else was responsible for the emergence of the kind of values that were required by workers in capitalist economies. "For modern rational capitalism in the West to develop, there had to be not only the correct 'external' conditions - E.G.

  2. An analysis of the Marxist perspective on religion

    To further understand what Marx is trying to say we must examine exactly what he meant when he states religion is "the opium of the people"1. To do this I will use an analogy. Suppose you have a headache. You don't know what the cause of it is, but only

  1. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    The laborers compete not only by selling themselves one cheaper than the other, but also by one doing the work of five, 10, or 20; and they are forced to compete in this manner by the division of labor, which is introduced and steadily improved by capital.

  2. Discuss the conflicts between Employee and Employer by Marxist

    (Watson, 1995). 3. Conflict between Employer and Employees 3.1 In Management Studies In management, they say conflict is between employees or between employees and employers. In other words, conflict is a disagreement between two or more individual, groups or organisations.

  1. How revolutionary were Lutheran and Calvinist theories of authority?

    However, 'Martin Luther is best known as the most influential figure in the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century.'2 Luther is famous for nailing his Ninety-five Thesis on Indulgences to the door of the Roman Catholic Church in Wittenburg and is credited with launching the Protestant Reformation.

  2. An analysis of the Marxist Perspective on Religion

    best understand his critique of religion, it is necessary to first look at his theories of economics. The Bourgeoisie (the upper class) control the Proletariat through the inequality they create in capitalism. As it is in the best interests of the Bourgeoisie to continue to hold the majority of the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work