The Main Function of Religion According to Sociological Arguments

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The Main Function of Religion According to Sociological Arguments

Many sociologists believe that the main function of religion is to provide people with a code of conduct, which regulates personal and social life.

There are two main theories to what role religion plays within society. One of these theories is the Marxist theory. Marxism sees society as superstructure. They believe that society isn’t peaceful and is based on conflict and exploitation. Religion makes this society justify inequality and maintains ruling class domination.

Karl Marx believed religion is a form of social “opium” which dulls oppressive pain and provides hope to the working class people who are being exploited.
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In South America, Liberation Theology is one of the fastest growing and most popular interpretation of Christianity. It is the idea that people can be made free through religion. Until recently the catholic church was seen as an oppressive force, not helping out those who suffered under the injustices of some Latin American governments. However, more recently Roman Catholic priests have helped people to change the situation that they are in.

Functionalists also agree with the statement. They have a large approach on society and link it towards the human body, which includes religion as a main function in society. They believe religion performs vital functions to balance society and creates the basis of the norms and values of society. This therefore according to functionalists promotes social order.

Emile Durkheim suggested that religion was sacred and treated with respect, this creates a social community which give out morals. He believed that religion helped to promote social solidarity and that religious buildings, for example churches helped to bring the community together by making each member feel warm and welcome. He also talked about religion reinforcing the collective conscience; this is done by taking part in church services which renew their commitment to religion, moral beliefs and values. This shows that
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