Essay on The Social Change in Religion

Essay on The Social Change in Religion

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The Social Change in Religion

Religion has two meanings in sociology, the inclusive definition also
known, as the functional definition is the most general and refers to
following a set of rules or rituals. This could include football and
vegetarianism, as well as more traditional religions such as
Christianity and Judaism. The exclusive definition, also known as the
substantive, requires a belief in a god or similar higher being. This
is the definition I will be using for my essay. Social change is the
process of a society moving on either slowly by evolution as believed
by functionalists or quickly by revolution as believed by Marxists.

Most sociologists argue that religion doesn’t lead to social change.
Functionalists believe it creates consensus so there is no need for
change. Feminists believe that because religion is patriarchal men it
prevents social change by using god to suppress women and keep them
from power. Marxists believe religion is used to prevent the working
class revolting. One of the major differences between the
perspectives of Functionalism and Marxism is that while the former
tends to see the functions of religion in terms of the benefits it
brings to society as a whole (keeping consensus), Marxists tend to see
religious ideas benefiting a ruling class (preventing the ruling class

However one sociologist, Weber, says religion does lead to social
change. Weber is a neo Marxists and expands on the Marxists

Functionalists are consensus theorist; as far as social change is
concerned they emphasize the fact that it is a slow and gradual
evolutionary change. This is beca...

... middle of paper ...

...ety, something that Catholics do not get. In short Catholics can
go to a priest to confess their sins and become forgiven, Protestants
can’t do this, and they have to wait till judgment day. They believe
that if they are successful in business then that is a sign that god
is pleased with them.

I believe that we can only say that religion leads to social change if
we can prove that before religion social change was slower than it is
now. Religion may be suppressing social change but we just don’t see
it because we don know that it was once better. However in my opinion
religion neither aids nor prevents social change, instead I believe
that religion encourages use not to look for faults in society, which
could be perceived by sociologists (especially Marxists) as being
deliberate in order to prevent social change.

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