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

Evaluate the idea that religion acts as a conservative force in society.

Extracts from this document...


Evaluate the idea that religion acts as a conservative force in society There are many ideas and theories based around the topic of religion. In regards to the question posed the relating theories are action theories, such as Weber who argued that religion can possibly encourage change, and, structural theories, such as Marxism and Functionalism e.g. Religion being the 'Opium of the masses' as stated by Marxist sociologists. Functionalist sociologists believe that the institutions of religion maintain social stability. Functionalism is a structural theory. Emile Durkheim (Functionalist sociologist) believes religion has two functions, the first, is that it infuses norms and values into society's as well as uniting people. Durkheim, from the 1890's, predicted that today's modern societies would revere individuals instead of seeing themselves as more important, however, this was seen as an important way of keeping society together. ...read more.


Durkheim's view is the most logical and simple explanation on view. Regarding Parsons view, it can be clearly seen what point he is getting across and that, at times, it is correct, but this cannot be applied to all societies it would only be applicable to more forward and western thinking societies. The Marxist sociologist's see religious institutions as both conformist and defiant to social change, however, they see the institutions serving the ruling class than society in general. They also see religion as the 'Opium of the masses' which eases the pain caused by higher, manipulative classes. This model can be shown by the example of the Hindu caste system, in this system the lower castes support the higher castes in attaining nirvana in hope that they are reincarnated into a better presence in their next life. I find this view confusing in it self to understand, but feel that this is, again, correct in a lot of circumstances. ...read more.


I found Phenomenology difficult to grasp and still haven't completely grasped it, so, I am not in a position to discuss whether it is a theory that works. In conclusion, I feel that in the past religion was very conservative but in today's more modern world religion, among other things, have evolved forward. I do think, however, that more people are turning towards religion and using it a comforter. There are exceptions to this however, as some religions have grown stronger and united more people globally, such as Islam. There are also smaller religions such as the Sikh religion which bind people together through actual faith and no god instead of the worship of being such as Allah. Ultimately I feel that only a minority of religions, such as Christians in Jerusalem and Catholics in Ireland, in the west fully survive and act as a conservative force, religions in the east, however, seem to be run by the religion itself instead of worshipping through the self and by the self. GSB 1 ...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. Peer reviewed

    Assess the view that religion is a conservative force within society (40).

    5 star(s)

    manifestation of God's favour and a sign that God had allocated a place in heaven for that person. The Calvinist belief system harboured a belief of pre-ordination within it, suggesting that the 'elect' have already been allocated their places in heaven and people do not have free will to make their own choices as their lives are predestined.

  2. Assess the view that religion acts as a conservative force on society.

    He found that when the people of the island went to out to fish they felt safe when they fished in the lagoon they felt safe as they was close to home, However when they went to fish out in the sea where the survival rate was low they would pray to god to keep them safe.

  1. Evaluate the view that religion acts as a conservative force in modern society.

    However, bearing in mind feminists mainly focus on the negative aspects of religion and don't look at the positive aspect. They have been supported by the Catholic Church's teaching about abortion and contraception which lead to women having primarily having a domestic role which feminists see as a form of social control over women.

  2. Evaluate the view that religion acts as a Conservative force in Modern society

    This was called the polarization of the classes. Marx called religion the "opium of the masses", which meant that it was a part of the ideological state apparatus which helped to keep the proletariat in their exploited position. This demonstrates that the Marxists believe that religion acts as a temporary cohesive measure in that it helps to blind

  1. Functionalist views on Religion.

    * Followers carry on their normal lives * E.g. Transcendental Meditation. * Are like cults because they tolerate other movements. Reasons for the Growth of sects, cults and new religious movements 1. Breakaway movements from established churches as a response to the Church's decline. Many classical sociologists saw a close relationship between the church and sects.

  2. Evaluate the view that Religion acts as a conservative force in modern society.

    Another Marxist view (Engels) saw that there was a small want for change in some Religious movements. Some of these movements gave promises which paid off her and now rather than in the after life. These movements however were doomed to fail due to Religions over-emphasis on the super natural.

  1. What Civil Society Can Do to Develop Democracy

    How could people obtain the 'good life' given the inherent conflicts between their needs as individuals and the needs of their society? Socrates, according to Plato, advocated that issues be resolved via public argument using the dialectic, a form of rational dialogue in which the arguers test propositions against other

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

    C'ism's characteristics 1. C'ism alone produced a rational organization of labor. 2. Lifted barrier between internal and external economics, internal and external ethics, and the entrance of the commercial principle into the internal economy with the organization of labor on this basis.

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