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'The main function of religion is to provide people with a code of behavior which regulates personal and social life' Assess the extent to which sociological argument support this view of religion in modern society.

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Introduction

'The main function of religion is to provide people with a code of behavior which regulates personal and social life' Assess the extent to which sociological argument support this view of religion in modern society. There is no common definition for Religion, thus making it hard to analyze the effects it has on contemporary society. Three major characteristics of defining what is a religion is that there is a collection of individuals, A set of shared beliefs and a set of approved rituals. There is no doubt that Religion today provides a code of behavior which even though is clear, some people choose to ignore. The fact some people may dismiss these rules doesn't disprove Religion. Durkheims' functionalist view was based around the 'collective consciousness' in which without "society could not endure". Durkheim believed highly in "The Sacred" in which things of a symbolic nature are placed higher than anything. An example of this would be Christians wearing a cross; it has symbolic meaning to the individual and the collective, so they represent shared beliefs. ...read more.

Middle

It "legitimizes the core values of a culture" and "promotes social solidarity", meaning he supports the claim that Religion provides a code of behavior. As humans we ask many questions, "why are we here?", "What is our purpose?" and more importantly, "what happens when we die". Parsons says that "Religion provides meaning" by attempting to answer these 'eternal' questions. Religion is able to justify irrational things like the innocent suffering. Religion provides a comfort that these injustices will be resolved in a form of 'after life'. Religion, he says, also provides 'sacred core values'. For example, certain rituals brought whole communities together in religious worships. So Religion obviously emphasizes the idea of consensus. The Marxist view of religion is in great contrast to the Functionalist views. For Marx, people's religious beliefs reflect their 'alienation'. Meaning through the rise of capitalist societies people become more alienated resulting in people becoming products of work and religion. Marxist believe that Religion does not act as social cement that bonds society but as 'social opium' - Karl Marx's 'opium of the masses,' which provides a false hope or consciousness to those who are suffering, namely the proletariat. ...read more.

Conclusion

Feminists view religion as a source of patriarchy and therefore view social control as a negative function as opposed to functionalists who see social control as a positive aspect within society. Feminism argues that historically religion has been used, to control feminine bodies by labeling them as deviant, to support the family in a patriarchal sense and to deny feminine sexuality as it is seen as a potential threat to social stability. It is clear that feminists would see Religion as a code of behavior, but it is one that negatively affects women due to the Patriarchal ideologies imposed throughout Religion. From the different perspectives we can see that Religion does greatly provide people with a 'code of behavior' which keeps personal and social life in order. Although, according to conflict theories the 'order' can be seen to repress women and the lower classes, it is clear that there is a code which benefits the overall. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Proctor Mr. Gribble - Sociology: Religion ...read more.

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