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Assess the contribution of religion to social change

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Assess the contribution of religion to social change. (18 marks) There are many ways in which religion may have contributed to social change, but there is however the argument that religion tries to keep society the same by conservative force. Most religions have some sort of conservative force that it sticks to, for example keeping to traditional beliefs such as monogamy, attending church on a Sunday, opposing to divorce, contraception, cohabitation and abortion and also sticking to the nuclear family way of life where the male is the sole breadwinner. Many religions defend their traditions if they are not seen positively by society. ...read more.


Also it prevents a revolution for example the Methodist Movement. Feminists also think that conservative force in religion is a negative force as it legitimates patriarchy. They argue that religion makes it ok for women to be oppressed depending on what the higher power of that religion has decided. Also women were barred from becoming priests until the 1980's in Catholic, and Orthodox Judaism. It also singles women out, as there are certain dress codes from women, access to divorce is more difficult. Also the number of spouses is different for a man than it is for a woman in certain religions - polygamy and certain religions go against abortion and contraception therefore not allowing a woman to control her own body. ...read more.


Marxists recognise that religion can cause change and that some have relative autonomy from religious beliefs. He believes that there can in some religions be part independence and he sees religion as capable of humanising a world made inhuman by exploitation even if its an illusion it still brings people's minds to rest. Engels 1895 believes that religion preaches liberation from slavery and misery as it gives people the motivation and support they need to escape exploitation. Engels recognised that lower ranking clergy have supported and organised public protest. Ernest Bloch (1959) believes that the "principle of hope" helps people to realise what needs to be changed and therefore religion can create a vision and inspire protest. To conclude I think that religion has helped to influence social change as it has inspired people to speak up and air their views. ...read more.

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