Asses the View That Religion Was Mainly a Conservative Influence but Today Is More of a Force Social Change

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Asses the view that religion was mainly a conservative influence but today is more of a force social change (33 marks)
Weber sees religion as a form of social change as he believes it brought about modern capitalism. He uses the example of Calvinists. Calvinism was a new religion formed where they believed God had predetermined idea of who would go to heaven and who would hell. This caused panic within the believers and as a coping mechanism they lived and ascetic lifestyle and reinvested their money to prove that they were worthy to be one of the chosen souls that got to heaven. This created modern capitalism as Calvinists would work to the top and reinvest their money into themselves instead of disrupting wealth equally, forming a class society. One criticism of Weber is that it was not the Calvinist belief system that brought about the capitalist attitudes that he claims but rather an alternative to earn money as they were excluded from society and professions. However that could be countered as other religious minorities were excluded and didn’t exceed bringing about modern capitalism like Calvinists did.
Functionalists however would completely disagree with Weber as they see religion as a conservative force as they believe it maintains social stability. It is argued that religion performs this function by creating value consensus so people are less likely to pursue their own selfish interest, bringing a risk of society collapsing. For example in the biblical scripture it says “Love thy neighbour”, meaning people shouldn’t harm others out of their own selfish pursue. This results people being carry out their functions in society and continue social stability. This could be criticised as other sociologist may view that religion value consensus may not maintain social stability but rather a more negative function of alienating people from society’s inequalities.…...

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