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Describe the sociological challenges to religious belief.

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Describe the sociological challenges to religious belief Sociology is defined as the branch of knowledge that deals with the development structure, and collective behaviour and interaction of human society. There are three people who dominate the study of sociology and religion: Marx, Weber and Durkheim, all holding different views. Durkheim was a French philosopher and sociologist who lived from 1858 until 1917. For Durkheim, religion was a vehicle of social cohesion. He argued that religion was the 'glue' that held society together and that it provided the society with a framework for their values and ideas. Therefore, according to Durkheim, religion expressed the values of society, and strengthened the group of people who practiced it. ...read more.


Max Weber is seen by many as the most influential sociologist to have examined the role that religion plays in society. He was born in 1864 and died in 1920 and his outlook was heavily influenced by the immediate events of German life. For Weber, religion had an active part to play in the shaping of society and he was impressed by the roles of key religious figures within society, for example, Jesus and Mohammed. He concluded that the religion of society was the reflection of the inspiration of individuals and the power of these charismatic characters was passed on to their followers, guaranteeing the continuation of religion. When it came to the relationship between religion and society, he believed that the two elements influenced each other and helped each other continue and grow. ...read more.


His view on the role of religion within society contrasted greatly with Weber; whereas Weber believed that religion had an active part to play in the shaping of society, Marx thought that it was the economic and social structures hat gave rise and shape to religion. In contrast with the two previously mentioned sociologists, Marx regarded religion as a negative aspect of society. Alienation, he taught, was an economic and social condition of class society, which caused working people to be dominated by forces of their own creations. He declared that religion only encouraged alienation within society, as it offered illusory and spiritual gods, and distracted people's attention from the world and situations around them. Marx made it clear that he wanted religion to be overthrown and he said this could happen through a social revolution to bring down the oppression and enable people to take responsibility for their own welfare. By Rachel Breckner ...read more.

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