Assess the View That Religion Is a Source of Instability and Conflict

Topics: Sociology, Karl Marx, Marxism Pages: 3 (1094 words) Published: May 10, 2013
Assess the view that religion is a major source of instability and conflict in society today Religion has held an important role in society since the beginning of civilisation and it has such power over people’s minds and shape the way our world developed. Whilst some sociological theories such as functionalist sees religion as performing a positive function in society as it can lead to social solidarity, integrating people into society, other sociological theories such as Marxist and Feminist totally disagrees with this and would argue that religion leads to instability and conflict in society. Karl Marx a Marxist sees religion as an illusion and that the phenomenon of religion is part of what Marx refers to as an alienation of people which causes conflict in society. He saw society as divided into two social classes with one dominating the other. And he saw religion as promoting inequalities and class conflict in society. He argues that religion is part of a dominant ideology that is the idea that religion is a tool used by the bourgeoisie (Ruling class) to convince the working class to accept low paid jobs and so exploits the working class, reproducing and reinforcing false consciousness. Marx saw religion as acting two functions. The opium of the masses explains that religion ease the pain or exploitation of the people in three ways as it promises an eventful escape from suffering and oppression in this life and promises a better life after death. Religion also offers hope of supernatural interventions to solve problem on earth and finally religion provides a religious explanation for the justification of inequality for example the rich man at his castle and the poor man at his gate. The second function that religion does based on Marx is that it legitimises and maintains the power of the ruling class. They see religion as a form of social control and oppression that are used by the ruling class to legitimise the power of the wealthy. The inequality...
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