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Asses the view that in most societies religion functions more to cause conflict than to bring about harmony and consensus.

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Introduction

Asses the view that in most societies religion functions more to cause conflict than to bring about harmony and consensus. This essay will outline all aspects relating to this aspect, and firmly discuss whether religion causes more bad than good. There are many sociological perspectives which coincide with this aspect, one being that of the Functionalist perspective. The functionalists believe that Religion is a positive aspect which promotes harmony and value consensus. Emile Durkheim suggested that religion promotes social solidarity. Durkheim also illustrated that religion is needed for society to function accordingly. Both of Durkheim's ideas promote the functionalist ideology that religion is a positive and harmonising factor to society. Another Functionalist believer is Talcott Parsons. He believes that religion is a significant contributor to the norms and values of society and without religion society would turn into a case of anomie. Parsons also adds that religion helped form the value consensus which is needed for stability in society. ...read more.

Middle

However, to every argument there are two sides, the other side being that of the Marxist perspective. This perspective stresses the conflict which is caused by religion. Karl Marx suggests that religion is subordinated on the subject of class, and that religion is riddled with exploitation and oppression. Marx expresses that religion is based around class and economic principles, being highly capitalist. The Marxists associate religion to be an instrument of oppression. The Marxists express that religion causes much conflict and is used for working class to soften the blow of exploitation of their lives on earth, by promoting the idea that they will have 'eternal life' in heaven when they die. Marxism believes that religion causes more bad than good, being the total opposite side of the argument to the Functionalist. Another perspective which coincides with Marxism is that of the Feminists. The feminists express that women are devalued by different religious beliefs causing more harm than good in religion. ...read more.

Conclusion

The years in Ireland have been seen as religious bitterness and conflict. The Catholics nowadays belong to their single unit known as Ireland, whilst the Protestants remain in Northern Ireland still in association with the UK. The two communities remain deeply suspicious of each other and so the legacy of antagonism and mistrust continues. Another religious conflict is that of the Arabs and the Jews. Conflict over Palestine-Israel has evolved from an Arab-Jewish conflict into a Palestinian-Israeli or Palestinian-Jewish conflict and a Muslim-Jewish conflict. This divergence is a genuine conflict between the Arab countries and the West. Like the Ireland dispute, this quarrel has been going on for many years and still hasn't been completely resolved. I thus believe, from what I have stated above, that in my opinion religion causes more bad than good. From the numerous disputes which have happened for many years, I believe that religion causes much more conflict and anger rather than consolidating people in one belief. Religion disputes costs thousands of innocent lives each year. Religion can bind and unify a nation, but it can also cause death and segregation. ...read more.

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