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

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Introduction

Evaluate the view that religion acts as a conservative force in modern society (40) This really depends on what conservative means and McGuire argues that it also depends on the type of religion. Many theorists have different perspectives on this issue. Functionalists, Marxists and Feminists argue that religion acts as a conservative force whereas social action, Neo-Marxists and Weber argue that it acts as a social change. Conservative can be defined in two ways. One of the definitions is protecting the status quo in society. This is opposite to social change. It prevents social reform e.g. divorce, abortion etc. Conservative can also mean promoting a return to more traditional social value. This means a return to previous form of social relationships e.g. ...read more.

Middle

Religion prevents social change by that it provides shared beliefs, norms and values and helps individual to cope with stress. Durkheim argues that religion represents the collective consciousness of society and forms part of a society's value system. Values of religion functions to mix members together which maintains social order. Parson argues that the main function of religion is to promote fundamentalists values that integrate members into society. Functionalists have been supported by religious beliefs and rituals which often offer a form of therapy in stressful times. Marxists argue that religion justifies inequality and exploitation of the capitalist society. Religion is a mechanism of social control which maintains status quo. They argue religion acts as a conservative force. Marxists then argue that religion is created by people therefore religion was not created before us humans were born. ...read more.

Conclusion

However Neo - Marxists argues that religions act as a social change rather then conservative. They have moved away from the idea that religion serves the interest of ruling class and are a form of false class consciousness for the oppressed. They argue that they have been times when religion acts as a force for social change. Maduro states that liberation can only be achieved if changes are being made. Weber who is an interactionist also supports the idea that religion acts to promote social change. Weber concluded in his study that the New protestant religions is a vital part in the development of capitalist economy. He also identifies that in certain circumstances; religion sometimes makes vital contribution to social change and doesn't always acts in a conservative manner. ...read more.

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