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

Compare and contrast Marxist and Functionalist accounts of religion.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Darren Marks Sociology Compare and Contrast Marxist and Functionalist Accounts of Religion Both functionalists and Marxists share the common view that religion serves to legitimise the morals and laws within society. Many functionalists as well as Marxists do agree that society creates religion as a visual symbol of itself. Followers are ultimately not worshipping their religion, their worshipping society and everything it stands for. However, this is where the split in views begins. Functionalists see Religion as serving towards the 4 pre-requisites of society. (Namely: Social integration, shared values, social solidarity, and social harmony). By ensuring these needs are met, religion reinforces collective values and promotes solidarity. Functionalism is not over concerned about the 'why' religion is allowed to assume this falsified symbolism, but instead recognises it's use in keeping harmony and faith in society. Durkheim demonstrates this in admitting that religion does not have to be 'super natural'. It's important to note that mortal people and objects can gain a sacred status in society similar to that of the idols of religion. ...read more.

Middle

He did, however, agree that religion promotes solidarity. It does so by dealing with emotional stress / life crisis (disruptive events). Religion goes as far as to introduce ceremonies for dealing with various life crisis. Death is given a funeral. Love is given marriage. In all cases then hope is given through the expressed belief in immortality and fellow mourners serve to comfort and support the bereaved, so they can become functional members of society once again. Dangerous and unpredictable events are also surrounded in religious ceremony. Prayer is common before a possibly hazardous experience. These rituals reduce anxiety and increase confidence, strengthening unity in shared situations. Talcott Parsons shares this view and goes onto show how religious devices, such as the 10 commandments, provide the basis for many social norms and morals. Religion guides behaviour and helps in the formulation of decision through this. Finally, Religion is looked to answer the "ultimate questions" and give meaning to our existence. Humanity needs to feel as though there is meaning in all significant things; meaning to death and suffering, and justification of existence in itself. ...read more.

Conclusion

The idea of equal opportunity is ultimately crushed by harsh teachings and acceptance that a lower class worker is having a bad life because super natural forces placed them in that situation as punishment for wrongfulness in previous life. In conclusion, Marxist and functionalist similarities on the subject start and end with the acceptance of religion as a conservative force in society. Neo Marxism does accept the idea (like functionalism) that religion can sometimes be useful to society in bringing about change for the better. For instance the radical role of Liberation Theology. (Madura). Traditional Marxism is totally opposed to the oppressive role of religion and would be surprised to see that radical forces have emerged with some minority religious groups. Functionalists such as Durkheim and Parsons see religion as being a positive and perhaps essential part of the harmonious workings of society but have been criticised for ignoring the dysfunctional, disruptive, and divisive aspects of religion. They fail to consider hostility between religious groups within the same society. "It would seem that religion threatens social integration as readily as it contributes to it" (Stark & Glock). ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the Functionalist and Marxist views of society.

    5 star(s)

    with the ideology of the bourgeoisie maintaining the false consciousness of the proletariat. Whereas the functionalist approach might view religion as a positive influence on society, Marx dismissed it as the "opium to the people". Marx predicted that this state of affairs would be overthrown and that conflict would be removed and replaced by communism.

  2. "Compare and contrast the functionalist and Marxist competing views concerning the purpose of the ...

    that the proletariat do not vote as they have no chance of changing things as they have been brainwashed into accepting their lot. And that through this, are led to believe that this is fair and meritocratic; by working hard you get on.

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

    Malinowski supported Durkheim's views on religion's role in society in reinforcing social norms and values and promoting social solidarity, but he does not see religion as reflecting society as a whole nor that religion is worshiping society.

  2. Evaluate Marxist and Functionalist Views of Religion.

    Marx described religion as a dependant variable. This meant its form and nature were dependant on social and economic relations. For Marxists peoples religious beliefs reflect their alienation. According to the Marxist sociologists' religion comes from the oppressed. It was believed that religion dulls the pain caused by oppression.

  1. Compare And Contrast Marxist and Functionalist Views on Society and Education.

    They see that pupils have their abilities and talents tested in schools so that they can be channelled into roles appropriate to their abilities and training, this is known as role allocation. Marxists would disagree with this and are interested in the way education works in the interests of the ruling class in a capitalist society.

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

    Patterson admits that the British population extends a mixture of hostility and reservation regarding their new residents and this is in fact a British cultural norm, however she argues that Britain does not contain a deep-rooted prejudice attitude and a suggests that where conflict and discrimination did exist, it appeared

  1. Defining religion.

    value judgement to claim that this is an example of 'false consciousness' Comparison o Marxists & functionalists view religion as

  2. Functionalist views on Religion.

    They tolerate other beliefs. They often have customers rather than members. Many aspects of the New Age movement are based around cults. NRM's In the 1970's there was an emergence of new religions. Wallis categorised these as New Religious Movements.

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