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Durkheim is a consensus theorist, he supports the view that religion is a conservative force in society, reinforcing the existing society of society.

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Introduction

Durkheim is a consensus theorist, he supports the view that religion is a conservative force in society, reinforcing the existing society of society. He argued that religion should not be explained in terms of human ignorance, but as a result of shared social needs. He adopted a broad definition of religion throughout his analysis and defined it as a unified belief system of beliefs about the nature of sacred things. For Durkheim, shared religious belief systems were central to common consensus as they set rules for social interaction and offered social solidarity and value consensus. Durkheim viewed religion as being a major source of social integration, all religious activity has one main function, the celebration of the community. Religion is not about the worship of god, but of society. People are drawn together through religious activity and this helps to create a value consensus and a common belief system containing the collective morality of that society. Durkheim saw religion as being social cement, binding people together. Durkheim's conclusions are based on his analysis of modern society. Durkheim said that in order to understand religion it is vital to recognize the difference between the sacred (spiritual/religious) and the profane. ...read more.

Middle

The existing social order and hierarchy was justified as religion explained that it was decided by God. The oppressed accepted this philosophically as they believed there was nothing that they could do about it. Religion made the proletariats unsatisfactory lives bearable and it gave them hope in the future (in the form of an afterlife) and explained to them that there was nothing they could do to change their situations. Marx also saw religion as creating false class consciousness, whereby the subject class were blinded to their situation and therefore the interests of the ruling class, powerful and elite, were maintained. Religion was, in essence, another part of the ruling class ideology, i.e. the pervading ideas of the ruling class in society which ensure that the existing social order of capitalism continued. Orthodox Marxist sees religion as integrating, stabilizing and regulating people's behaviour Feminists argue that religion is a conservative force in society and prevents social change, allowing the ongoing dominance of the patriarchy and of male ideology within society, thus preventing women from fully achieving equal rights. This is not a desirable effect for feminists who say that women will not be equal while religion plays an important part in society as it promotes the male dominated existing social order. ...read more.

Conclusion

on society as it helped capitalism to start off. Neo-Marxists dispute Carl Marx's original position and agree with Weber in saying that religion can produce social change. It is believed that Engel's was the first to recognize that religion may be a vehicle of social change. This is demonstrated through looking back in time when early Christian sects resisted Roman rule - this shows that religion could be a source of resistance. A more recent account of the potential revolutionary force of religion is demonstrated in the following claim of the neo-Marxist Otto Manduro; Religion is not necessarily a functional, reproductive or conservative factor in society. It is often one of the main and sometimes the only available channel to bring about a social revolution. This claim is demonstrated by looking at; the Nationalist and Loyalist Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, and the 1979 revolution in Iran when the Iranian royal family was deposed and Iran was turned into a strict Islamic fundamentalist state It can be said that religion is a key agent of socialisation, that is, although it may cause a certain amount of change its primary effect on society is one of stability and cohesion. There are more cases of religion being a conservative force in society than there is of it being a radical one. ...read more.

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