Critically Examine the Relationship Between Religion and Social Change

In: Social Issues

Submitted By aking
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Sociologists suggest that there is a relationship between religion and social change but there are two main arguments. One is that religion has not helped or contributed to social change as some sociologists as that religion is a conservative force, which believe in traditional values and beliefs about moral issues and that they oppose changes that would allow individuals more freedom in personal and sexual matters. For example the Catholic Church which forbid divorce, abortion and artificial contraception. Most religion’s as a conservative force also uphold ‘family values’ and often favour a traditional patriarchal domestic division of labour. Keeping roles separate and traditional, this shows that it is not acting as a force for social change and that it would like to keep things all traditional.

Similarly it can act as a conservative force as it functions to preserve things as they are. It stabilise society and maintains the status quo. Functionalists argue that religion does this by it maintaining social stability and preventing society from disintegrating. Marxists and feminists believe that religion is an ideology that supports the social structure and acts as a means of social control, creating stability in the interests of the powerful, which helps to maintain the status quo by preventing the less powerful from changing this. Marx also sees religion as it prevents the working class from uprising and therefore helping to maintain the stability of capitalist society. Feminists also say that it legitimates patriarchal power and maintains women’s subordination in the family and wider society. Therefore the relationship between religion and social change here is that it doesn’t help towards social change but tries to stop it from happening with its beliefs and functions of traditionalism.

However there is the argument that suggests that the…...

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