Religion as a Conservative Force Essay

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Religion as a Conservative Force Describing Religion as a 'Conservative Force' seems to imply that Religion is an inhibitor of social change and used as a means by which to maintain the existing order of Society and the Status Quo. Some Sociologists such as Durkheim and Marx would agree with this and there are others who would argue against such a claim. It is a debate, one side says Religion inhibits change and the other says it sets social change in motion. As already mentioned Durkheim believed that Religion acts as a Conservative Force. In more detail what he actually thought was that Religious worship is like worshipping Society, in other words the beliefs in religion actually strengthen…show more content…
Anthropologists have also criticised Durkheim for describing Totemism as being a religion and finally Durkheim is only tentative on how this relationship between Society and Religion works. Marx agreed with Durkheim in that Religion inhibits social change but for very different reasons. Marx's view is that religion is a form of idealogical control. It provides people with a sense of 'False Class Consciousness' with such religious ideas as "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Earth", it gives the working class the idea that they will be rewarded in Heaven therefore they never become fully class conscious which means they never question their status which means they never form a revolution against Capitalism. Religion is the means by which it ensures that Capitalism continues to strive. "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature...it is the opiate of the masses". Some evidence to support Marx's view are for example; The Indian caste system which is fully justified in Hindu beliefs and in Medieval Europe Kings and Queens ruled by Divine right. However despite this evidence it can still be argued that Religion is much more than a set of beliefs and practices which develop in a Capitalist society. For example, whilst Russia was still the USSR the number of Baptisms which occurred remained high. Surely this acts as evidence that religion is not just a
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