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Assess different sociological accounts of the role and functions of religion in contemporary society'

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Introduction

'Assess different sociological accounts of the role and functions of religion in contemporary society' Over the years there have been many accounts put forward by different groups of sociologists to try and explain the role and functions of religion in society. The functionalists believe that religion is good and makes a useful contribution to society as it draws people together and makes it a better community. Durkheim believed that when you practice religion you in engage in collective worship of society. Durkheim based his study on Aborigines in Australia. Each clan had a totem that they worshiped, it was a way of worshipping their society, togetherness it was also a symbol of God. He says that society is more important than individual religion as it reinforces collective consciousness and that having a social life would be impossible if people didn't share the same values and beliefs. Durkheim gives an accurate picture of what the aborigine's life was like, and it showed that having the same norms and values can draw people together and give a sense of community but worshipping their own society may be true of the aborigines but may not be true of other cultures or of all societies in the modern world. ...read more.

Middle

but on the other hand Marxism is dated and it may have been true in Lenin's time but the church has moved on and modernized and people now believe that he over estimated religion because it doesn't have as much influence on people as he thinks. The second Marxist perspective was that religion was a force for change for example martin Luther king and Gandhi and the third perspective is that religion is irrelevant as it doesn't help people or improve poverty and religion is not as powerful today as it used to be. Bryan Turner said that religion used to be very important in the past as it was used to legitimate, monogamous marriages etc but today its not so important and not as much notice is taken of it. Another perspective is the feminist perspective, they see religion as act of patriarchy and that most religions are based on patriarchy as most gods are perceived as males and that women cannot be priests and that religion teaches that women are second class citizens but Karen Armstrong believed that in early history women were not seen as lower than men because there were Goddesses and they were seen as the main God but it changed in 1750 BC in N. ...read more.

Conclusion

believe its all a social construct but hey believe in contemporary society it will be harder for religion to disappear because its all over the world not just in one place so it will be harder for it to disappear but they also say religion is loosing its credibility because of pluralism as people are starting to question what they believe and look to science for answers. This group only sees the positive side of religion and don't really consider that people are already happy without religion. The last perspective is by the post modernists, Lyotard and Baudrillard say that you cannot say that one religion is better than the other they reject every ones theory and say its impossoble to explain and you cant trust any of them but then people have gone on to then say well if everything is relative then so is post modernism. Overall all the theories put forward have both good and bad points and all have support for and against them but I don't think religion will ever disappear because people do need something to believe in and need the assurance about what's going to happen to them after death, and even though I don't think religion has that much to do with modern day society it will always be apart of it. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1/2 ...read more.

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