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

Assess the view that sociological arguments and evidence support functionalist views of the role and functions of religion in

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the view that sociological arguments and evidence support functionalist views of the role and functions of religion in contemporary society. Functionalists see society as based upon consensus, where each institution functions to help society work together as a whole with shared ways of thinking and behaving. So for functionalists such as Durkheim and Parsons religion is a way of integration and social control. They believe that the shared rituals and collective worship of religion help reinforce the consensual values and norms of society, and that without these shared values society could not function. Secondly it is thought to be a form of social control, providing divine backing and answers for society's rules, so people will abide by them. Functionalists such as Malinowski also believe that it is a way of coming to terms with life challenging events like death, marriage etc. For example the religious ceremonies enable individuals to cope with the life crisis by controlling their stress and anxiety whilst getting support ensuring they remain part of society. There is also the concept of civil religion, Durkheim argues that religion is in actual fact the worship of society and not a supernatural god. ...read more.

Middle

This expression of social solidarity reintegrates society. A second theory Malinowski puts forward is that religion is also a way of dealing with uncertainty and unpredictability, for example he noticed while studying the Trobriands that when the fishing was dangerous and uncertain rituals often preceded to ensure a good catch and the fishermen's safety. He therefore concluded that in situations which produce anxiety, religious rituals reduce the uncertainty by providing confidence and a sense of control. As for Parsons, he agrees with both Durkheim and Malinowski on some of their ideas, such as, Parsons believes that religion helps provide guidelines for human action. One example of this would be Christian belief in the Ten Commandments, these rules are seen as sacred and Christians aim to lead their lives according to these rules. It is essentially a form of instilling shared values and norms to society necessary according to Durkheim for the collective conscience. Also like Malinowski, Parsons sees Religion as a way of dealing with uncertainties and crises in life, he agrees that certain events can disrupt the normal order of things and that religion is a way of maintaining social stability by releasing the tension and stress they can cause. ...read more.

Conclusion

Unlike the functionalists who see the social control as helping to promote consensus, Marxists believe that religion promotes inequality and that it acts like a drug by helping to create the false conscience. It is seen as giving the subordinate group a false sense of reality and illusions of happiness so that they would question their role in society and accept their exploitation. Finally Feminists see religion as a patriarchal ideology, where beliefs support and legitimize gender inequality, this is because of such religions where females have to cover up from head to toe and be limited in what they do. Or for example in this country where women are not allowed to be priests. For Feminists religion is a way of oppressing women, not a way of promoting consensus. To conclude there are several arguments and evidence both for and against the Functionalist view of religion, the evidence can be manipulated either way. Depending on which theory is followed the way religion is viewed will be dominated by that ideology. For functionalists all evidence supports their view but Marxists can take the same evidence and turn it around to show the exact opposite. Some things however such as the religious wars cannot be ignored and cannot be manipulated to prove anything other than religion can be involved in conflict. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology 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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Compare and contrast the Marxist and Functionalist explanations of the role of religion in ...

    is the idea that religion can be a major source of change through the intervention of significant ideas. He suggested that other societies do not have the values necessary for the development of capitalism. He argued that Judaism and Christianity had the key teachings and values, which encouraged capitalism, especially

  2. "Marxism and other theories of social conflict are irrelevant to an understanding of modern ...

    Functionalists like Durkheim believe in the "Structural consensus theory" as this explains social life through the learning and acceptance of shared norms and values. This belief of consensus, not conflict is a clear sign of the irrelevance of conflict theories.

  1. Functionalist views on Religion.

    Civil Religion Civil religion refers to a set of beliefs and practices related to the past, present and future of a nation, which is essentially 'sacred'. Civil Religion aims to reinforce value consensus though key figures or aspects of a country whose importance is understood by all.

  2. This essay will explain the functionalist, Marxist and Social action theories of race and ...

    This eases their suffering, pertaining to the discrimination they endure throughout life. (Haralambos, 2000, page 231) Pryce describes, in explicit detail, the 'frustrations and humiliations' that summarise the typical existence of 'black' individuals residing within Britain and extends the reader rationale behind the non-conformity and conformity among the West Indian population in Britain.

  1. Defining religion.

    would disappear o Religion no longer having any social purpose - will wither and die Differences o Functionalists say it brings society closer Marxists say it keeps them apart due to w/c exploitation o Functionalists believe rituals are important to reinforce social solidarity Marxists say it's just a money making

  2. The position of widows in Nepalese society - sociological study.

    When a woman commits sati in rural India, there is a public outcry all over the world. Yet little interest is shown in the misery endured by millions of Indian widows every day. In widowhood, a woman joins a category of women among the most marginalized, and invisible.

  1. "As researchers are also members of society it is impossible for them to be ...

    They have interpreted the data in different ways. Interpretivist sociologists also agree with anti-positivists such as contemporary sociologists, in that many say that sociologists simply impose their own views of reality on the social world. However, Positivists disagree with the views of anti-positivists. Positivists advocate the use of scientific methods.

  2. The Influence and Role of Religion In Hopi Society.

    This Hopi story of the earth's creation can account for the distribution of land and the formation of the clan system for the Hopi. Egan contends that when the Hopi entered the Fourth world, they did not yet have clans (Egan, 1994.

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