Religion Maintains the Status Quo

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Status Quo Pages: 3 (717 words) Published: April 19, 2006
Religion maintains the status quo. Access arguments for and against this

The term ‘Status Quo' descends from the Latin term meaning the "existing state of affairs". To maintain status quo is to keep things in society the way they currently are. Marxists, feminists, functionalists and fundamentalists all have views on how religion has the ability to keep the status quo.

Feminists predominantly see religion as a conservative force. They have seen religion as maintaining patriarchy. Christianity, especially, has evidence to support this view; "Our Father" is mainly seen as a male figure and Eve was created as a "friend" for Adam. This supports the view that religion serves to keep women in the traditional place; less important than men. However, some evidence shows that this may not have always been true. Such examples include many Goddesses that play a main role in Green and Roman religion; all women.

From the Marxist perspective, religion is a ‘conservative force'. According to Karl Marx, religion justifies the dominance of the ruling class and provides consolation for the subject class. Therefore, religion discourages social change. According to Marx, concerning the subject class, religion is ‘the opium of the people'. It provides consolation for the misery of oppression by offering false promises of external happiness in the next life. With the ruling class, religion often legitimates the position of the ruling class. We see again that religion acts as a conservative force that maintains things the way they are. Consequently, there is evidence to support the Marxist view that religion is a conservative force.

From their perspective, Marx sees religion as largely shaped by economic factors. As part of the superstructure of society, religion reflects the infrastructure or economic base. Weber said that in certain cases, the opposite was true; that religion can help to shape entire economic systems and bring radical changes to society as a whole....
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