Evaluate the view that religion is an important source of moral values in contemporary societies. (33 marks)

Topics: Sociology, Religion, Karl Marx Pages: 2 (1507 words) Published: October 27, 2014

Evaluate the view that religion is an important source of moral values in contemporary societies. (33 marks) Over the past years, there has been a great differ in the views of society and how people see religion and how important and influential it is to our moral values in contemporary societies today. This essay will look at why various different theory ideologies and their ideas about religion, and how it influences us day to day in our lives. The definition of a religion can vary depending on who you ask. The simplest definition of a religion is that for a religion to become a religion, there must be a belief of the supernatural and must also be a belief in God. The functionalists hold a different perspective on religion. Functionalists see religion as being there to fulfil the needs of society for example, functionalists feel that religion sets certain norms and values for society and gives people morals. Durkheim see's religion as something that contributes to society, rather than to any specific belief in god or any supernatural life form. For functionalists, society is a system of interrelated parts with basic needs that must be met in order to survive. Religion plays a key function for society as it creates social solidarity and a value consensus. Durkheim says that the key feature of religion is not a belief in gods or the supernatural, but a fundamental distinction between the sacred and the profane; as long as you see what you worship as sacred then Durkheim says that it is fine to be a religion. Durkheim believes in the collective conscience - a set of shared norms, values, beliefs and knowledge. Like in Durkheim's study of Totemism, it was proven that shared rituals bind individuals together, reminding them they are part of a group and reinforcing the idea of 'togetherness' in society. Moreover, other functionalists such as Malinowski, Parsons and Bellah, all share the same set of ideas that Durkheim has. Malinowski agrees that religion promotes...
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