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"Evaluate the view that in contemporary society religion acts as a social glue"

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"Evaluate the view that in contemporary society religion acts as a social glue" The view in the title is a functionalist's view. Durkheim claims that religion is to do with the sacred and certain things, people and places are perceived to be sacred for example Jesus Christ, totem and the Tajmahal. He claims that what people perceive to be sacred are actually symbols of a collective consciousness. By worshipping these sacred things etc. they are actually reinforcing the beliefs, values, norms and tradition which make social life possible. He says religion reinforces and strengthens social solidarity. Malinowski says that religion meets the psychological needs of people; there are two situations that religion is characteristically involved. The first of these is life crises such as birth and death, these events may lead to uncertainty and religion provides valuable mental attitudes. The second is where the out come is uncertain but important for example the Trobriand islanders and their fishing. ...read more.


It seems to support social order and threaten punishment for those who resist e.g. St. Paul's letter to the Christians of Rome and the church in medieval Europe teaching that the unequal states were god's creation and anyone who challenged this would be punished by damnation. Today main stream religions still legitimises privilege and inequality by blessing rites to do with royalty such as the coronation and by continuing the presence of the archbishop and the bishops of the Church of England in the House of Lords. According to Marxists religion acts as a form of compensation for the alienation and oppression of the proletariat, it does this by promising rewards e.g. Christians, Muslims and the Jewish are all offered a place in heaven and Hindu's and Buddhists are promised a better life in their next incarnation. So Marxists believe that the main role of religion is to maintain capitalist rule. However this view can be criticised religion does not always reinforce a false consciousness it can also open the eyes of the oppressed and encourage them to take action to end their oppression (Neo-Marxist). ...read more.


husbands, they were required to obey him and they could not divorce him, In some versions of Islam a male may have up to four wives and he may divorce his wife by declaring so three times but a female may not divorce her husband. Feminists claim that religion does not act as a social glue but as an institution of patriarchy and male dominance. However the feminist view can be criticised; Feminists claim that females do not have key positions in religion but in religious history it seems they do for example the Greek goddess Athena was god of war, wisdom and arts and in Hinduism goddesses are important. Although feminists claim that religion does not have that many female professional's many women have developed leadership roles through religion for example Ellen white founded the Seventh Day Adventist church and thousands of women around the world have leadership roles in the Christian Pentecostal movement. Feminist's views of religion provide insight into gender inequality in religion but ignore other aspects of religion and therefore are of limited use. ...read more.

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