Assess The View That Religion Is A Force For Social Change

678 words - 3 pages

Assess the view that religion is a force for social change. (18 marks)
Sociologist take different views on the role of religion on society. Functionalist sociologist such as Parsons argue that religion serves to help its members by providing answers and comforting them through challenging period in their life. Whereas Marxist and feminist believe that religion acts as a conservative force for society, in order to prevent social change.
Weber argues that religion can be a force of social change. From his study of the ‘protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism’, he argues that Calvinist beliefs helped to bring about major social change, in particular developing capitalism in Northern ...view middle of the document...

They see that religion can also be a force for change. Engels first introduced the ideas that religion has a dual character. He states that although religion often inhibits change by disguising inequality, it can also challenge the status quo. For example by preaching liberation from slavery and misery.
Similarly to Weber, Bruce identifies ways in which religion has contributed to social change. Bruce argues that the black civil right movement to end racial segregation was heavily influenced by religion. Although slavery had been abolished in 1865, blacks were still denied political and legal rights. It wasn’t until 1964 that segregation was outlawed. Bruce argues that the black clergy provided the backbone support of the movement by providing meeting places a sanctuary from the threat of white violence. They also used prayers and rituals as a source of unity during a time of oppression, which provided them with strength and faith needed to overcome this oppression. This therefore shows how religion can be a force of social change, to overcome laws and change views of a nation to provide greater equality.
One the other hand...

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