Essay Sociology and Religion

1158 Words 5 Pages
We all have some experience with religion. Whether our parents are religious, our own religious views, or others who try and convert you to a religion, we have all come in contact with a religion. But what do sociology and religion have to do with each other? The answer to this question is that religion meets sociology in the affects that it has on an individual or society (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 323).

What is a religion? A religion is defined by Richard Schaefer as a unified system of beliefs and practices that relate to what is believed to be sacred (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 323). There are many world religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hindu, and so forth, and while all of these different religions are
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This theory stats that society is structured in a way that maintains its stability (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 14) How can one use this theory to look at religion? A famous functionalist Emile Durkheim divided the world in to the sacred which holds important significance such as a cross, and the profane which is just an ordinary object that holds no significance (Stevens, William J, 2008). According to William J Stevens, while Durkheim had removed God from religion, he still felt it was a positive force that could unite a society under similar beliefs and values (Stevens, William J, 2008). Bronislaw Malinowski found that religion can perform a function of creating societal solidarity due to religion being a psychological response to the needs of society during times of anxiety (Stevens, William J, 2008). Malinowski also stated that religion can provide security when one is faced with situations that may be out of their control (Stevens, William J, 2008). Talcott Parsons added to this by stating that religion makes the values of a society legitimate (Stevens, William J, 2008). This could in turn also cause conflict amongst society which would serve as a dysfunction such as the religions in the United States creating a battle against the liberal secular movement (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 337).

One could also use the conflict theory to look at Religion as well. The conflict theory is
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