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

Evaluate the contribution made by studies of sects and other religious movements to an understanding of the role of religion.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Evaluate the contribution made by studies of sects and other religious movements to an understanding of the role of religion. The role of religion was defined in many ways by the classical sociologists Marx, Durkheim and Weber. Each had a different perspective regarding religion and its place within society. Marx wrote from a conflict viewpoint, his main argument was that religion served as a conservative force, benefiting the dominant classes by systematically deceiving the exploited working classes. Religion, as Marx saw it, was keeping the proletariat "falsely conscious". As religion was based on ruling class ideology it prevented the working class from seeing that their problems would be solved only when alienation and exploitation were abolished. On the whole Marx believed religion was constructed as a means to suit the further growth of Capitalism hence also the Bourgeoisie. Marx predicted a social and political revolution conducted by the working class, they would no longer remain passive to their situation by believing the privileges of the dominant classes were "divinely ordained", God's will. ...read more.

Middle

This links in with the notion of secularisation, the decline of religion, and though early ideas on religion given by the classical sociologists help to understand how religion was defined, in contemporary society there is the ongoing debate that in fact religion is of less importance or the differing view that, perhaps, its even stronger then ever. There is much evidence to support and refute this idea, for example using statistics (positivist approach) there seems to be a drastic decline in church attendance figures, which is argued by Bruce to indicate secularisation. However, Grace Davie uses the phrase "Belief without belonging" which refers to people not necessarily having to attend an institution in order to be religious therefore, the figures are an unreliable form of measurement. Furthermore, Stark asserts that religion is not in decline simply because it was never that popular anyway, he claims that this golden "Age of faith" in the past did not exist. Whilst organised forms of religion may be in decline, there is the persistence of religion as suggested by the growth of new religious movements and fundamentalist groups. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heelas argued that some New age religions are in fact linked with capitalism and consumerism (e.g. cleansing crystals and therapy.) and some as a rejection of this (e.g. adoption of a simple way of living). This idea of capitalism and religion as almost being a product links to scientology, a large-scale business with members paying huge fees to "clear" their minds. Furthermore, in this pick and mix society there is evidently an entire global market regarding religious groups, wider choice and the ability to create your own identity. Here, functionalists would argue that religion is still on some level performing a function however, there is great controversy in society as to what people believe in and whether such beliefs should be regarded as religious at all. It is clear that the role of religion is ever adapting and changing, that different areas of the world hold different beliefs and that though on the surface religion may not seem apparent it is still greatly present in society. Anjana Chauhan ...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

    Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of the family.

    4 star(s)

    Their main views being that the family is patriarchal meaning it is male dominated and the notion of symmetrical conjugal roles is seen as a myth. Additionally the family has an ideological role, here they argue and reject functionalists view that socialisation in the family is beneficial for society, and

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

    Maduro said that religion can play a role in the political struggles of the oppressed classes in developing classes and he looked closely at the ideas of the Liberation Theology. Therefore, the Neo-Marxist approach would belief that religion could be used to create change and would support religious groups such as the Levellers and religious leaders like Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

  1. The Role of Religion As a Conservative Force and As an Indicator of Change.

    SOCITY BUT MAY BE ASSOCIATD WITH SOCIAL CHANGE IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES (40 MRKS) The functionalist, E. Durkheim, claimed that religion is fundamental to the maintenance of collective consciousness, i.e. shared beliefs, values, customs and norms that make social life possible.

  2. Defining religion.

    the overall cultural sub-system Marxism o Religion as something that's sacred by society o Religious ideas aren't 'true' they're the product of society, an ideology that's used to control subordinate classes Future of religion Functionalism o Some have identified a process of secularisation which might lead to the extinction of

  1. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    The need for salvation, consciously cultivated as the substance of religiosity, has resulted from the endeavor of a systematic and practical rationalization of life's realities. All religions have demanded as a specific presupposition that the course of the world be somehow meaningful, at least in so far as it touches

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

    Failure to follow the correct path may result in a time of punishment before a soul may reach the underworld. Glowacka's article reveals that certain behaviors on earth guarantee the hikwsi will not enter the underworld. Women who marry illegally or unmarried women may not enter the underworld at all because they lack the required wedding garments (Glowacka, 1998, p.6).

  1. Evaluate the Contribution that Subculturalist theory has made to our Understanding of Deviant Behaviour.

    An example of such is Margaret Thatcher created emphasis on individual success in the 1970's and 1980's which contributed to a rise in property crime. Albert Cohen developed his theory in 1955 by combining Robert Merton's concept of strain theory with the ethnographic ideas of the Chicago School of sociology.

  2. Assess the contribution of sociological studies in the role of sects and other NRMs ...

    Wallis believes people are drawn to NRMs because of spiritual deprivation, they feel they have lost sight of their real self and feel quite lonely and are looking for a community companionship which today has been lost in most communities and in most societies so people have to look somewhere

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