The Role of Religion as a Conservative Force and as an Indicator of Change

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The Role of Religion as a Conservative Force and as an Indicator of Change FUNCTIONALISM Emiline Durkheim believed that religion is central to the reproduction and maintenance of social order in societies. The major function of religion is to socialise society’s members into value consensus by the following. * Setting certain values apart and infusing them with special significance. These values become moral codes or beliefs which society socialises children into. Such codes control our social behaviour. For example, some of then commandments have become embodied in law (thou shall not steal) and some have become part of informal morality (honour…show more content…
It also functioned to remind us of our British identity in terms of her position in society and the ceremonial trappings that shaped the funeral service and procession. Later functionalist thinkers such as Malinowski see religious rites of passage as functioning to appease the stress and anxieties created by life crisis such as birth, puberty, marriage and death. The rite of passage usually involves some sort of ceremony ritual; in which the society celebrate or mourns the role of the individual in the greater collective of the family or society, e.g. christenings, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, church weddings and funerals. Functionalists argue that the role of religion is to preserve the status quo rather than to promote social change. Functionalists agree that religion is a beneficial conservative force because it maintains consensus, binds people together and promotes social order. Critics of functionalism The following weaknesses have been identified in the functionalist theory of religion. * Its is difficult to see how religion can be functioning to socialise the majority of societies members into morality and social integration if only a minority of peoples regularly attend church. * There is little empirical evidence to
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