Identify And Briefly Explain Three Func

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A. Identify and briefly explain three functions of religion (9 marks)
Marxism believes it acts as the ‘opium for the exploited working class people’. Religion would cushion the pain of oppression and exploitation in unequal societies such as in a capitalist society. It legitimized and maintained the power of the ruling class – helps to maintain the status quo by preventing the less powerful from changing things.
Feminists see religion as a conservative force because it acts as an ideology that legitimates patriarchal power and maintains women’s subordination in the family and wider society.
Functionalists see religion acting as a ‘collective conscience’. Bringing people to have shared beliefs and moral attitudes which operate as a
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Neo Marxists, a modernised version of Marxism, holds such a view. Neo-Marxist ‘Otto Maduro’ comments on how religion has the power to spark revolutionary change. He points to the example in Latin America, a predominantly catholic country. During the Somoza regime, many priests began to break away from the Catholic Church, claiming that it was their God-given duty to help and release those who were oppressed. They began cooperating with Marxists, and started to preach “liberation theology” (movement with strong commitment to poor and opposition to military dictatorships). These religious views challenged the status quo, and led to a revolution in Nicaragua.
This example highlights how religion can acts as a force for social change, and there are many other examples which support the claims of supports of this view. Parkin for example, comments on how the Christian Churches of southern America provided an organisational structure for the black “civil rights movement” during the age of apartheid. Nelson mentions a number of examples of when religion has undermined authority or promoted change; such as when the Catholic Church in Poland opposed Communism, and how Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a strong opponent of apartheid. Perhaps the most

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