Welcome

Anti Essays offers essay examples to help students with their essay writing.

Sign Up

Assess the Functionalist View That Religion Benefits Both Society as a Whole and Its Individual Members. Essay

Open Document

Below is an essay on "Assess the Functionalist View That Religion Benefits Both Society as a Whole and Its Individual Members." from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Item A suggests that functionalists believe religion helps to integrate individuals into a community by instilling into them a set of shared beliefs that gives them a feeling a belonging and a common identity. This helps society to cooperate harmoniously creating social cohesion as people believe in the same thing and all abide by the same rules. While conforming to religious beliefs this allows us to gain morals, as well as giving us a variety of cultures allowing us to tolerate and accept different religions. Functionalists see religion as a positive aspect to society.

Durkheim   argues that religion functions to reinforce the collective unity or social solidarity of a group. He says all societies divide the world into the sacred and the profane. His view on sacred symbols represents society's collective consciousness which is the shared norms, values beliefs and knowledge that make social life possible without such consciousness it would crumble. While participating in shared rituals binds individuals together reminding them that they are a part of a community. The individual sees religion performing a significant function allowing them to feel apart of society and seeing that religion strengthens us to face life's trials and motivates us to overcome obstacles that would otherwise overpower us. Durkheim used the religion of Aborigines to develop his argument. He calls their religion 'totemism', as each clan of aborigines had a sacred symbol called a totem which was a symbol of their gods and of their society. Therefore, he argues the people are really worshipping society. However, Durkheim's analysis has been criticised as he only looked at small pre-industrial societies so his views do not apply to complex modern societies. Also he fails to account for the development of new religions some of which reject the norms and values current at the time, for example the Amish.

Like Durkheim Malinowski sees religion as reinforcing social norms and promoting social...

Show More


Citations

MLA Citation

"Assess the Functionalist View That Religion Benefits Both Society as a Whole and Its Individual Members.". Anti Essays. 13 Dec. 2017

<http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/Assess-The-Functionalist-View-That-Religion-305169.html>

APA Citation

Assess the Functionalist View That Religion Benefits Both Society as a Whole and Its Individual Members.. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from the World Wide Web: http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/Assess-The-Functionalist-View-That-Religion-305169.html