Jan 2012 socio past paper
Three reasons why members of minority ethnic groups may seem to be more religious than the majority of the population is as follows. Firstly, they may follow religions than are not declining in popularity like Sikhism and Islam whereas Christianity in certain countries is on the decline. Secondly, if they are immigrating to a new country, they may use religion as a cultural defence and so will become more religious. Finally their culture that they come from may use religion as an integral part of socialisation and so they will carry on practising it when the reach new places.
Religious organisations have been around since the first civilizations, they ...view middle of the document...
This research comprised of research into the black civil rights movement in America where churches provided safe havens for the protestors. Other sociologists also protest that religion is not declining but rather is adapting and changing, in the old days you were a member of a church for life, now with the introduction of New Age Movements (NAM) and New Religious Movements (NRM) as well as various cults and sect groups there is more choices for the individual. You now have the option to “pick and choose” your religions and even incorporate more than one at a time, by adapting various aspects, you can suit your own individual needs without needing to commit to one dominant religion. This offers a changing view on religiosity and so makes it hard to answer the question whether people can stop being lifelong members of one religion as there are many more different religions available.
In conclusion, to assess the view that most people today choose not to be a lifelong member of religious organisations is a difficult one, in a traditionalist sense, there has been a noticeable decline in previously dominant religious participation and membership, an increasing number of new and different religious groups and movements gives people more freedom and choice.
Functionalists offer explanations to many different aspects of society, in this essay, I am going to examine their usefulness in our understanding of religion today.
The main sociologist Emile Durkheim, believes that religion serves as important function within society, he sees it as creating a collective conscience within society as well as performing a major role in secondary socialisation. He believes it serves the purpose of creating social bonds and that by doing this, social solidarity occurs.
Another functionalist study into religion was Malinowski’s research into the Trobiand islanders. This group used collective rituals to prepare for the hardships and possible deaths that could occur whilst fishing. By praying beforehand, they see death as gods will. He believed that death could cause huge social upheaval and even social destruction, he faces criticisms for several reasons however. His theory is reductionist, it only sees religion as a positive thing and he ignores the other coping methods to deal with bereavement. They also ignore the negative impact on individuals.
Parsons, another sociologist looks at Durkheim’s value consensus, religion provides the values of society and the standards for human behaviour. By looking at social order, functionalism sees religion as being able to give answers to uncertain questions that science cannot answer. Despite their comprehensive theology, there is many criticisms by other theoretical perspectives. They’re accused of being overly positive and justifies sexism and class inequalities. Many would argue that by justifying inequality and pain, they put up with unfair intolerable situations.
Marxist sociologists follow the teaching of Karl...