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Compare and Contrast Functionalism and Marxist Theories of the Role of Religion These Two Different Ideas Try To Identify the Role of Religion.

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Introduction

COMPARE AND CONTRAST FUNCTIONALISM AND MARXIST THEORIES OF THE ROLE OF RELIGION These two different ideas try to identify the role of religion. The two theories dicuss there argue their point on religion. The first main theory on the role of religion is the Functionalism theory. They have a large approach on society and link it towards the human body,which includes religion as a main function in society.They believe religion performs vital functions to balance society and creates the basis of the norms and values of society. This therefore according to functionalists promotes social order. There are three main contributors towards the fuctionalist theory. The most famous of these contributors is Emile Durkeim. Durkeim believed that religion was sacred and treated with respect this creates a social community which give out morals. As Durkeim was a functionalist Durkeim wanted to discover the functions religion provided for a society of anykind. He tried to analyse the Australian aborigines in Australia. He named their religion as "totemism". He found out that this was a basic form of religion and societies bonded on a clan basis. Each clan had its own totem which was regarded as holy. Durkeim believed as the totems only contained pictures of insignificant figures to the western world,so he believed there must be something else they believe. ...read more.

Middle

The other main theory to the role of religion is Marxism. Marxism is a also a large approach and sees society as base/superstructure. However Marxists believe that in today's society is based on conflict and exploitation rather than a peaceful society. Religion makes this society justify inequality and maintains ruling class domination. The main contributor towards the theory of Marxism is Karl Marx. Marx believed religion is a form of social "opium" which dulls oppressive pain and provides hope to the working class people who are being exploited. However in Marx's idea this is really a false hope and hides the true nature of a capitalist society. This therefore supports status quo and prevents any revolutionary change. Marx believed that religion is an ideology of society it sends out a false picture of what society is like which helps the ruling class exploit the working class even further. This is a false consciousness that stops them realising the situation they are in and stop them thinking about the own interests and ideas. In Marx's view religion is used by ruling class to control the working class and they control them in four ways. The first way is to make the working class believe that supernatural powers control the events on earth. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore religion is a vital cog for helping individuals and society Marxism is a conflict theory which believes that there is a conflict between the ruling and working classes. The ruling class exploit the working class. Marxists also split the economic base with the super structure,this justifies the existing mode of production which benefits the ruling class. This means that overall the religion has a negative consequence on individuals and the community itself. In conclusion the two points of view both have strong points but also weak points. The functionalism view is too positive and can not spot any flaws in our society, it is too keen to express their ideas on the good parts of the society but seem to be missing vital points on why religion can be bad for society. In some ways Marxism is completely the other way round. The Marxists are very critical of the role of religion about it being a safe guard for the ruling class it does express all the flaws but only concentrates on capitalism which makes Marxism limited in ideas. My belief is that a idea in the "middle of the park" would be better has it could express the good and bad points of the role of religion in our society. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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