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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and its individual members

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Introduction

´╗┐Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and its individual members 18 marks. Functionalist say that society is like a living organism and all the social institutions perform specific functions in order to help society function effectively. The sociologist Durkheim says that a key feature of religion is not a belief in Gods, spirits or the supernatural, but a fundamental distinction between the scared and the profane. The sacred are things set apart and forbidden which inspire feelings of awe and wonder. ...read more.

Middle

In Durkheim?s view, sacred symbols represent society?s collective conscience or consciousness. The collective conscience is the shared norms and values of society. For Durkheim shared religious rituals reinforced the collective conscience and maintain social integration. Durkheim also says that religion helps individuals with cognitive functions, as it teaches us basic concepts. Anthropologist, Malinowski says that religion promotes solidarity. He says it performs important psychological functions in two situations. When the outcome is important but uncontrollable, and at times of crisis. ...read more.

Conclusion

Religion also provides meaning, as it is able to answer ultimate questions about why some people die young and why the good suffer. Religion provides examples to these questions by saying that bad things are a test. A criticism of this is Marxism and Feminism. Marxists and Feminists say that religion exploits people. Marxists say that religion is used by the r/c to exploit the w/c in order to preserve their position in society. Feminists say that religion is used to keep men on top in society, and women at the bottom. Therefore, functionalists say that religion is positive in society, and Marxists and Feminists say that religion is negative. ...read more.

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