1. Examine the view that morality is dependant on religion. Morality is principles concerned with what is right or wrong. Those who believe that morality and religion are linked argue that morality requires religion, and all of our knowledge of right and wrong comes from God. H.P Owen said that “it is impossible to conceive of a command without also thinking of a commander” which means that if there are moral laws, then there must a lawgiver who set them.
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and it’s individual members. (18) Functionalists believe that religion is an essential part of society, helping to create a value consensus amongst individuals and therefore helping to establish order and solidarity within society as a whole. Durkheim believes religious rituals reinforce a collective consciousness maintaining social integration which would otherwise fail to exist. Marxists and Feminists however argue that religion acts as a means of oppression, legitimising subordination and inequality within society and creating a false consciousness in order to maintain a division between different groups. Durkheim believes one of the key features of religion is the distinction it gives between the profane and sacred.
This concept is also related to the idea of the unconscious as an important factor in determining and explaining human behavior and action. William James distinguished between two kinds of religion institutional and personal religion. William James interpretation of Institutional religion was religious groups or organizations. William James thought it played an important part in a society's culture. William James interpretation of Personal religion was that individuals can have a religious experience and can be experienced regardless of whatever culture he or she is from.
Phenomenology is also geared towards creating a framework for understanding religious traditions. The authors of The Sacred Quest An Invitation to the Study of Religion give multiple outlines for different things in religion, such as what a cult is defined as and what it means for something to be sacred. The phenomenological approach’s function is to also put up a firewall against literalism. This means that we want to look at how things function in a religion and how things are interpreted but we do not want to make the mistake of believing some things actually happened in the physical world. We use the phenomenological approach as a way to interpret data that we observe from several different religions.
The main perspectives of this are the overall point of view towards a subject for example aspects of a person’s social life. Sociologists study the impact on many different societies and social structures that have an effect on people. They also study social trends and suggest actions or interventions to help improve health and well being of a particular group of people. Sociologists have introduced various perspectives to be able to explain and also analyse how societies work. Functionalism: Two functionalist called Talcott Parsons and George Murdock argued that every single society will have a religion due to religious institutions have certain functions which have a say to the survival of the system as whole just as the organs of the body have functions which are essential for the body’s survival.
Functionalist view on religion This essay is to assess the functionalist theory and view that religion benefits both societies as a whole and its individual members and also to take in consideration their criticism, but to mainly focus on two sociologist Durkheim and Parsons. Religion for sociologist is defined in three ways which are substantive, functional and social constructionist. The substantive definition of religion is focusing on the content or religious belief in god or the supernatural. The functional definition is its social or psychological functions it performs for society and individual. The last definition of religion for sociologist is social construction of it which is that there is no single universal definition of religion since so many exist and there is no consensus term of religion among any of them.
Durkheim believed that the essence of all religion could be found by studying it’s simplest form, in the simplest type of society. He studied totems, which he said was a society worshipping sacred symbols and rituals which were meant to symbolize all of society. In Durkheim’s view, sacred symbols represent society’s collective conscience or consciousness. The collective conscience is the shared norms and values of society. For Durkheim shared religious rituals reinforced the collective conscience and maintain social integration.
Different to Durkheim and Malinowski, Parsons said that religion promotes consensus by doing two things; it answers the big questions in life and religious laws and society’s laws go hand in hand. For example, questions like ‘is there life after death?’ and ‘how was the world created?’ both can be given plausible answers from religion. Bellah also says that society is in need of collective rituals and civil religion reaffirms these group values. An example is Americanism and Football, they aren’t religions but they bring people together in the same way. Overall, the Functionalists ignore secularisation and conflict and their focus on the positive functions
Durkheim believed that the main function of religious belief is to promote social stability which is reinforced by the collective conscience. The collective conscience is the shared values and moral beliefs and without them there would be no social order, social control, social solidarity or cooperation. Durkheim says that the attitudes of respect towards the sacred is the same attitudes applied to social duties and obligations, therefore people are worshipping society and recognising the importance of the social group. Religion strengthens the unity of the group and promotes social stability by bringing them together at religious rituals. When being together in religious rituals, social groups are able to express their faith and their common beliefs and values.
Values have a rich and detailed history, and the social work profession has its roots in the Bible and religion. Values and what they mean to each person are unique for everyone. Values tend to influence attitudes and behaviour. The Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1598 and 1601 consolidated welfare legislation of the Tudor period and have their origins in the systems of relief provided to the poor by the parishes of the Church of England. The Beveridge Report of 1942 declared a ‘War on Want’ to address structural problems and an emerging class of welfare professionals developed in what we might call ‘traditional social work’.