Sociology essay 1
Discuss the relationship between religion and social change
Religions and society impact one another. Religious associations can be influenced as they steadily embrace the perspective of society through the procedure of secularization, while society can be influenced as religious followers showcase their religious conviction frameworks on the planet.
According to Durkheim “Religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things.” It is “beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church”. He trusts that religion is a foundation and result of society. Durkheim trusted that religion fortifies and taught moral behaviours and subsequently made created common values for individuals to comply with, through sacred objects, symbols and totems which is kept up for social solidarity by giving social union. Totems are believed to help maintain conformity and control in society, thus chastising those who do not abide by these religious norms, meaning controlling development in self and group identities.
The most influential sociologist that advocates the view that religion can cause changes in society is Marx Weber. Marx on the other hand, disagrees with Durkheim arguing that religion isn’t chiefly or fundamentally a preservationist constrain. Actually, religiously motivates developments have frequently delivered sensational social changes. Weber believes that religion is a force for change and that economic factors alongside the vital beliefs and states of mind are the main impetus for social change. In fact, Weber found that religion can create a capitalist work ethic which prompts social change, in his study of Calvinism. This appeared through two essential perspectives which are Predestination and the Ascetic Ideal.
Predestination is the possibility that your life and whether you are going to heaven or hell is not chosen by God. Calvinists trusted that just a few were decided for heaven which made people nervous as nobody knew whether they were one of the chosen or not. Working hard was the only answer for this tension as progress could be an indication that you were chosen for heaven. Therefore, due to this, religion indirectly brought about change.
On the contrary, Marx believed that religion promotes a belief in the afterlife, therefore if the working class works hard enough and obeyed rules and did not challenge the capitalist system, they will go to heaven as a reward. Thus, Marx believed that there was no need to challenge society, since heaven is the reward for people not to attempt to change society.
Marx also believed that people’s fate is decided by God which creates false consciousness that blames God instead of capitalism. Thus, this makes the working class believe that society is meant to be this way and therefore cannot be changed. This shows religion as a conservative force.
Although all three sociologists tend to have a different view on religion bringing about social change, in modern times, society has brought about a change due to religion and due to other factors as well, thus showing all of the three sociologists views.