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Evaluate the view that religion acts as a conservative force in modern society
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Evaluate the view that religion acts as a conservative force in modern society. (40 Marks)
To evaluate whether religion is a conservative force or a catalyst for social change, the different perspectives of what role religion takes in society must be looked at. Functionalists believe that for something to be functional, social solidarity, value consensus, and social order must be present. Durkheim presented an argument from the functionalist perspective stating that things are divided into two categories: The sacred and the profane. He argued that the sacred were things which have religious importance or significance, and the profane were things which are ordinary objects or aspects of life.
Durkheim studied an aboriginal society which he defined as "the most basic form of religion". Each clan has a totem within this society - usually an animal or a plant. The totem is essentially a symbol; the emblem of the clan. It is also worshipped as the most sacred object in the aborigine ritual. Durkheim explained the true nature of the totem as it being symbolically representative of the society that worships it. In essence, they are subconsciously worshipping their own society. This is because the totem stands for the
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