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Evaluate functionalist views on the role and functions of religion today (33)

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Introduction

Evaluate functionalist views on the role and functions of religion today (33) Functionalists explain that if everyone believes the same thing in society then this creates consensus, therefore there can be no arguments which then creates stability. Another function is that religion gives people a sense of identity and belonging, for example if you follow a religion you belong to this religion therefore you have a sense of identity and any kind of attack on this religion feels like an attack on them. The function of religion is to reinforce the importance of society and aid individuals' integration into the community. For example, Anfield is idolised and worshiped and before and England matches the national anthem is always played, when people are singing the song it really means something to be British because everyone always sings this with emotion. Religion also promotes social order, and also backs up important statutory laws on theft and murder among others. ...read more.

Middle

An example of a clan in today's society can be Islam's and that no matter what they are doing or where they are, they have to prayer at a certain time of day. Functionalist, Malinowski similar to Durkheim argues that religion's role in society is to provide support for society's members in times of crisis. In explaining death and providing support during natural disasters it makes sure that people don't reject the shared norms and values of society due to perceived hardship. Most societies have evolved religious rites of passage ceremonies in order to minimize the social disruption, for example the death of a loved one can cause the bereaved to feel helpless and alone, unable to cope with life. However, the funeral ceremony allows people to adjust to their new situation. To provide evidence for this Malinowski used date from small-scale, non-literate societies to support he's ideas- the Trobiand islands. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas, the dysfunctions are the negative side of things like war, terrorism, psychological control etc. which then makes a difference between the manifest and latent functions. Manifest are the intended things in society for example, at a funeral the expected thing to do is grieve that loved one however, the latent functions would be the not intended things at a funeral for example, moving on and celebrating the life of the loved one. However, functionalist have been criticised for only focusing on the positive aspects of religion rather than any dysfunctional aspects. For example, rather than binding people together, many of the world's conflicts have been caused by religion for example, as with Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, and Hindus and Muslims in India. Church attendance is declining in most western societies, such as the UK. Therefore for some people it is difficult to see how religion can be functioning to socialize the majority of society's members into morality and social integration, if only a minority of people regularly attend church. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lauren Harmon ...read more.

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