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

The Sociology of Religion

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Yuen Ching CHAN Religion is a social institution involving specific statements that people hold to be true and specific things people do in daily lives based on a sense of awe, reverence, and even fear. Thus, it involves beliefs and practices. The sense of awe, reverence and fear is a conception of the sacred, which is the contrary of the conception of the profane. The profane is, Durkheim explained, people defining most objects, events or experiences surrounded us as ordinary elements of everyday life. People distinguish sacred from profane, for example, statues of a person are to remember who have great importance in the history and treated as profane, but a statue of any God in its respective religion would be sacred. (Macionis & Plummer, pp462-3) These are just few basic ideas of what religion is to our societies. This essay is to compare and contrast the views of Durkheim and Marx towards the social implications of religion in classical sociology. Marx is a sociologist who has taken the conflict paradigm. He saw the conflicts generated from different classes' interests. Religion, according to Marx, is a compensating and comforting illusion and that would be made unnecessary when human beings lost their need for illusions. ...read more.

Middle

"The basis of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet found himself or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being encamped outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, the society. This state, this society, produce religion, an inverted world consciousness, because they are an inverted world. [...] It is the fantastic realisation of the human essence because the human essence has no true reality. The struggle against religion is therefore indirectly a fight against the world of which religion is the spiritual aroma. [...] It is the opium of the people." (quoted in Marsh, pp 88-9) By the term "opium of the people", Marx meant that consolation given by religion in whatever kind would only give a temporary relief to the repressed or those who suffered. Not only that it would decrease the functioning of senses, but also would produce undesirably side effects as any other drugs do. Hence, religion provides no real solution to suppression. Instead, "it tends to inhabit any real solution by making suffering and repression bearable" (Hamilton, pp93) Furthermore, not only the oppressed classed are "addicted". ...read more.

Conclusion

Divorce is for sure regarded as wrong and unjust. The last function of religion in the society is to provide meaning and purpose of life. Strengthened by such comforting convictions, human beings are less likely to commit suicide when they have to confront their most difficult times in lifetimes. For example, in Christianity, the death of a beloved family member is celebrated in the church with family and friends and such actions put religious implications that the died person would be peaceful in the heaven with the prayers from family and friends and his or her sins is forgiven hopefully due to the goodness he or she had made. The result is not that the died person is in heaven or not, but the fact that their family and friends felt faithful to this friend until the end and they would not collapse in great despair. (Macionis & Plummer, pp463) Both Marx and Durkheim saw religion as a social construction. On one hand, Durkheim overlooked the dysfunctions of religion. Religion could generate social conflict as Marx stated. On the other hand, Marx also somehow downplayed the positive changes and equality provided by religion. In conclusion, the theories of Marx and Durkheim thus make up a better and more complete view of the social implications of religion rather than considering anyone per se. ...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. "Far from generating an agreed set of values that hold society together, religion has ...

    the workers from the truth but ultimately religion leads to conflict and division. Revolution is seen as "inevitable" by Marxists and religion is seen as disguising division within society. One major example of the Marxist perspective in practice comes from the idea that the Church is one of the biggest

  2. Functionalist views on Religion.

    They are concerned with religious rather than worldly questions. * Seek to restore the spiritual purity to a religion, which they believe has been lost in more conventional churches. World Affirming NRM's * Very different from other religious groups and may lack some of the features normally associated with religion. Claim to provide access to supernatural or spiritual powers.

  1. Defining religion.

    o How far religion can be seen as the 'opiate of the masses' in contemporary society depends on a number of issues. Social control o Doesn't just cushion effects of oppression but also instrument of that oppression o Keeps people in their place by making unsatisfactory lives bearable o Discourages

  2. A-Level Sociology Theory + Methods Revision.

    Functionalists see inequality as inevitable. Interactionists introduce values into their work through identifying a problem "worthy" of investigation. * Soc/ists can't escape their own experiences or their intellectual values. They have their own perception of "problems" + there causes + consequences, therefore values + ideology are involved at every point of research from choice of topic to interpretation of data.

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

    Capitalistic adventurers (in search of booty, whether by war or exploitation) have existed everywhere, but only in the modern West has developed... the rational capitalistic organization of (formally) free labor. The rationality of MWC is dependent on the calculation of technical factors, and so is dependent on the development in science of the exact and rational experiment.

  2. Positivism: "Love, Order, Progress" - Auguste Comte (1795 - 1857) and Emile Durkheim (1858 ...

    It may be that the social sciences have problems, but these are problems of development and not problems in principle because of what sociologists study. What is the scientific method? According to the positivist view it is based on a number of principles that I shall first put to you rather formally and then summarise more informally: 1.

  1. History of womens oppression in Afghanistan.

    This has been true in Afghanistan. The Shariah laws and the structured Taliban and Northern Alliance forces have killed and punished collective activists, most notably Meena the founder of RAWA. (3) Apart from creating an injustice frame RAWA could use the fact that their leader was killed as evidence that, as Gamson (1992: 235)

  2. Against the background of Marxist views on Law, State, Class, and Property analyse the ...

    and in the character of Industrial Relations Law (the long established emphasis on the individual basis of the employment Contract). Many analysts have noted that the introduction and recent removal of Trade Union immunity and the changing legal definition of 'lawful picketing' over time suggest that the relationship between the

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