Assess the usefulness of functionalist theories in understanding religion today ...

Assess the usefulness of functionalist theories in understanding faith today (33 marks) There are a variety of different explanations of religion which includes substantive explanations, which refers to focusing on this article or element of a faith based belief including God, practical definitions, which usually refers to faith in terms of the social or psychological features it carries out for the person and there are likewise social constructionist definitions which will focus on how members of society truly define faith.

Functionalists hold a consensus view and argue that contemporary society requires both social purchase and unification in order for it to run smoothly, and religion is a sure way of offering this as it encourages shared norms and values. While previously mentioned, functionalists argue that cultural order and solidarity to operate smoothly Durkheim asserted that there are 4 main ways religion keeps value consensus. One way can be through the almost holy and profane, he argued that holy referred to issues that are individual from world and make feelings of awe, wonder and dread whereas profane referred to things that were substandard with no real significance.

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Durkheim therefore argued that the only thing powerful enough to inspire people in the way religious beliefs does is definitely society on its own therefore which means people are not really worshipping their particular religion or god, in fact contemporary society which means that people unite under the same belief, spreading shared best practice rules and ideals all over and so creating opinion within culture. Another way through which religion really helps to maintain value consensus is through Totemism Durkheim argued that heart coming from all religions could possibly be identified by examining the simplest kind in the easiest type of society which he called a tribe society.

Malinowski argues that religion promotes social purchase and unification through it psychological capabilities, which will help individuals who are under-going hardship as a result preventing these people from going against society’s shared norms and principles. Malinowski suggested two various kinds of situation by which religion helps you to perform this role. One way is definitely when the outcome is important yet is unrestrainable he compared the differences between two different ways of fishing the moment carrying out a research in the European Pacific, this individual argued that lagoon sportfishing is foreseeable, safe and has a easier method of getting fish meaning there is no routine.

However , if the islanders were ocean doing some fishing, he identified it as more hazardous and uncertain which required the islanders to carry out traditions in order to make sure their protection whilst doing some fishing. Malinowski contended that the practice gave the islanders a feeling of control and even more confidence, once again highlighting unification. The additional situation i visited times of existence crises, this meant situations that trigger significant modify such as birthdays, weddings, and death religion is useful mainly because it helps bring little interruption. Similarly, Parsons argues that religion allows individuals to manage unforeseen situations and unmanageable outcomes.

This individual identified two ways in which religious beliefs does this one way is by creating and legitimising society’s central values but thus, making them sacred. For example , in the USA, Protestantism helped make the American primary values of meritocracy, individuality and self-disciple sacred. This therefore helps you to promote social order and solidarity while the vast majority of Americans would have similar norms and values, creating little issue and better social cohesion.

The different way is by answering people’s ultimate inquiries, such as who have created the earth, and for what reason do some persons die fresh. It gives people a sense of protection and makes persons less likely to rebel against society. Yet , not all sociologists agree with the functionalists and their view of religion and its part. Feminists believe the position of religion is to oppress women and help maintain patriarchy within world.

One way through which religion keeps patriarchy is through faith based organisations these are drastically male completely outclassed, for example , Orthodox Judaism and Catholicism do not allow women to get priests. Armstrong argues that the is evidence for the marginalisation of girls in religious beliefs and world. Places of worship generally separate the sexes, putting men about more o ground with women sitting down behind a screen.

Girls are also prohibited to preach or read from almost holy texts. In addition , menstruating girls are not in order to touch the Qur’an, this therefore reinforces patriarchy because women will be forbidden from doing crucial rituals inside their holy earth and are also discriminated against. Almost holy texts tend to be focused on the actions of male gods and prophets and are frequently written by men. Women who are presented in holy texts are usually portrayed through stereotypes just like Eve, who also caused late humanity and expulsion through the Garden of Eden.

Lastly, religious laws and traditions ensure that women are given fewer rights than men, including access to divorce, how a large number of spouses they can have, decision making etc . In summary, there are a variety of different theories as to the usefulness of lack of when it comes to religion.

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