Assess Functionalist Views on the Nature and Role of Religion

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Assess functionalist views on the nature and role of religion. (18m)

Functionalism is a modern structualist theory based on consensus and shared norms + values, and they put forward the human body analogy to explain how society works as the human body analogy views institutions such as school and work as organs of the body and if one should fail the whole body representing society will be affected as a state of anomie would occur and so society would breakdown due to a state of normlessness but, should all the organs continue to function correctly then social order can be maintained. Functionalists believe strongly in the role of meritocracy and an NVS in order to make society an enhanced place by creating a sense of social unity.

Functionalists such as Durkheim put forward functionalist’s views of religion and, he states that religion can bring about social solidarity, social cohesion and value consensus. He believes that Religion is essential in order to keep society out of a state of a chaos, and puts forward the idea that Society is sacred and needs to be worship and religion is in-fact an analogy for society but it is necessary as it helps us focus our worship via symbols such as the cross for Christianity or the prayer mat for Muslims. It is also stated that everything can be divided into the sacred and the profane, and by doing this you can understand society. He also writes that humans are born selfish and individualistic and religion is essential in this as it teaches us to move away from individualism. He states that symbols represent something more important than ourselves, just like how society is bigger than the people within it and, through religion society is…...

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