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

Religion is more a cause of conflict than of harmony in society(TM)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Religion is more a cause of conflict than of harmony in society' To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (40 marks) Functionalists believe that religion is a cause of harmony in religion whereas, Marxists would argue that religion is more a cause of conflict in society. Karl Marx believes that religion is an illusion that eases the pain of exploitation, it is a way of providing many of the deceptions that the form the basis of the ruling class ideology and false class consciousness. Religion therefore acts like an opiate to dull the oppression. It does nothing to solve the problem and it is simply a misguided attempt to make life more bearable. Marxists argue that religious movements begin in oppressed classes; their social conditions provide the most fertile ground for the growth of new religions. Engels said that Christianity was originally a movement of oppressed people; it first appeared as the religion of slaves, of poor people deprived of all rights, or peoples subjugated or dispersed by Rome. The Christian vision of heaven can make life on earth more bearable by giving people something to look forward to. This is the idea of promising a paradise of eternal bliss in the life after death, just one of the ways religion can dull the pain caused by oppression. ...read more.

Middle

In 1980 they targeted 27 liberal candidates for attack, 23 of them lost. Although Bruce emphasizes that they have had a limited influence on American politics, it is clear that they have tended to defend the interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of other groups in the population. However, conflicting evidence would suggest that religion does not always legitimate power; it is not simply a justification of alienation of privilege. This is reflected in Engels later work and in the perspectives on religion. Also the fact that religion sometimes acts as an ideological force does not explain the existence of religion. Max Weber argued that capitalism developed as a result of religious movement, more specifically Calvinism. It was based on the idea that God gave salvation to those who pursued economic interest, in the name of religious duty. They did not spend money too stupidly; instead they'd invest in businesses, engaged in trading and hard work, striving for economic success. Religious duty and a higher calling for a moral meaning were behind the development of capitalism, according to Weber. The church assured the business owners of their salvation, so they became more self assured and confident, allowing them to progress even more. Religion also limited using money for pleasure or donating it to the poor, as they were perceived as not serving God and burdening others. ...read more.

Conclusion

Religion is part of the cultural system, as such religious beliefs provide guidelines for human action and standards against which people's conduct can be evaluated. In a Christian society the Ten Commandments operate in this way. They demonstrate how many of the norms of the social system can be integrated by religious beliefs. For example the commandment 'thou shalt not kill' integrates such diverse norms as the ways to drive a car, to settle an argument. The norms that direct these areas of behaviour prohibit manslaughter, murder and euthanasia but they are all based on the same religious commandment. The Functionalist perspective emphasizes the positive contributions of religion to society and tends to ignore its dysfunctional aspects. With its preoccupation with harmony, integration and solidarity, Functionalism neglects the many instances where religion can be seen as a divisive and disruptive force. It gives very little consideration to hostility between religious groups within the same society, such as catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland or Hindus and Muslims in India. In such cases religion can be seen as a direct threat to society instead of 'keeping it peaceful'. There are many arguments for and against both Marxism and Functionalists theories of religion. Nowadays it would seem that religion can cause major conflict with all the different wars happening between different religions. Perhaps religion could be said to be a cause of harmony for the people living in the same society whom believe in the same religion. ...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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification 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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Modern Britain is now a secular society

    This is important when looking at society in the past, as some people attended church services more than once a day (mainly for social rather than religious reasons) whereas in modern Britain people are likely to attend church only once.

  2. Assess the view that cults, sects and new age movement are fringe organisations that ...

    find a new way of living meaning its influence is still there. Next Heelas and Woodhead argue people are moving to inner feelings of being unique individuals. Not to establish paths but forge ones own inner directed unique life. This cultural term explains attraction to spirituality and new age movements numbers increasing.

  1. Sociologists who have studied the role of religion in society, and perhaps more specifically ...

    anything which challenges the ruling class directly- a conservative force, discouraging people from attempting change so the dominant groups can retain their power. Marxists also argue that the Church is extremely wealthy and the majority of priests and bishops are essentially from an upper class base and are well educated.

  2. Assess the nature and extent of secularization in society today. Evidence surrounding church attendance ...

    He thinks that religion no longer acts as a unifying force in society. On the contrary, Greely (1972) believes that the growth of NRMs represents a process of resacrilisation, since the 1980s the sacred is becoming important again. Stark and Bainbridge (1985)

  1. Assess The Extent To Which Marxist & Feminist Theories Help Our Understanding Of Religion ...

    control rather than just dulling the pain of the oppressed, it's more of a mechanism of social control, keeping people in their place. The ruling class use religion to justify their positions, as via the line, "God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate", it simply supports the ruling class and their own interests.

  2. Is Religion Important to people in society

    In his 'Elementary Forms of Religious Life', Durkheim argues that social life could only exist if values were shared and society integrated into a coherent whole. Religion helps value consensus as it undergoes unifying beliefs and practices which help people involved, attach meaning to the world around them.

  1. Race or religion? The impact of religion on the employment and earnings of Britain's ...

    Furthermore the survey does not contain information on years of schooling or experience; qualification attainment and age are used instead. The framework used is human capital theory, where employability is estimated using a probit equation and an earnings function is used to explain weekly earnings.

  2. State measures have fostered racial harmony in Singapore Discuss policies used to foster racial ...

    With more time spent together in the same neighborhood, different ethnic groups would start bond and understand the other?s religion and culture more. With common understanding, there would be higher tolerance and fewer conflicts would happen, creating a prosperous and harmonious multi-racial society.

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