Sociological Theories on Religion

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Sociological Theories Perspectives on Religion Christopher J. Reed Sociology 101 Mr. Nguyen March 14, 2011 Sociological Theories Perspectives on Religion When it comes to the social institution of religion, the three major sociological theories differ in a majority of ways. All three have their own way of how they perceive religion functions in society. The purpose of this paper is to show the impact each theory has had on religion as well as the people inside the institution itself. Religion has been around for many hundreds of years and has had a great influence on many things in societies over time and across the world, such as politics, economics, and has even led to many wars. But how would one come about with a definition of the…show more content…
Religion can also be viewed with having the ability to provide assistance and ease some of the struggles during the many transitional stages of life. Transitions such as moving from one place to another, marriage, having children and death can be difficult situations throughout one’s life, but religion can help a person through such difficult times. While the aspects of this paper so far have focused on the positive functions of religion, there are some negative aspects to this social institution also. One clear example of the negative aspect of religion is found in war. Since the beginning of civilizations, different religious groups have used religion as a force to conquer and kill others with differing views. This is still taking place to this day, as one can see by the conflicts that are taking place in the Middle East. The dysfunctional side of religion is where the functionalist and the conflict theorist find much in common. The conflict theorist would say that religion is a social institution that causes conflict and tension between different groups and cultures. The conflict perspective can be defined “as a sociological approach that assumes that social behavior is best understood on terms of tension between groups over power, or the allocation of resources, including housing, money, access to services, and political
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