Assess the View That Religion Inevitably Acts as a Conservative Force in Society

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Assess the view that religion inevitably acts as a conservative force in society The main sociological theories all believe religion acts as a conservative force in society in a sense that religion helps keep things the way they are and keep everything stable. However some of these theories may be against the idea that religion acts conservative force for their own reasons. For example Feminism believes that religion acts as a conservative force nevertheless they are against it as they believe it oppresses women by keeping women’s status the same. Functionalists believe religion acts as a conservative force in society and they look have a positive view about it. They are led to believe it creates stability and harmony in society; as well as getting people to co-operate and integrate within a community. One of the strongest belief Functionalists have about religion is that it teaches core values. This is reinforced by Parsons, he argues the core values which religion brings, keeps people from doing right from wrong. Parsons uses the 10 commandments as an example, stating how it stops people from doing bad e.g. one of the commandments is ‘thou shall not kill’ and it prevents people from killing, as a result it teaches morals. Overall, reinforcing core values prevents deviance in society therefore maintaining stability. Durkheim talks about Totemism, a religion where members worship an object, animal or plant which has meanings. They support the view that religion inevitably acts as a conservative force in society because Totemism is a force for stability. The totem represented the group and stood for the values in the community, therefore by worshipping the totem, they were in fact worshipping society. Totemism is a force for stability and harmony because the members have the same values. This is reinforced by rituals and ceremonies that take place in the community. These events bring the tribe together as a group reaffirming their group identity. However one...
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