Functionalists suggest that religion is a requirement for society and individual both because it serves both manifest and latent functions. Legitimating Function of Religion 9. Functions: Institutions develop out of certain human needs or interests. Teacher himself or herself have been through the similar phase of learning, after learning the social norms, teachers forward it to the next generation. Innumerable are the psychoses and neuroses that have religious content’. Historical work on religion reminds us of the importance of religion since the earliest societies, while comparative work on contemporary religion reminds us of its importance throughout the world today. It functions to reinforce the collective unity or social solidarity of a group. According to B. Turner (1992), ‘religion has the function of controlling the sexuality of the body, in order to secure the regular transmission of property via the family’. There are two main theories to what role religion plays within society. Religion promotes social solidarity: Religion gives rise to the spirit of brotherhood. Without these institutions a society cannot function. Religion Controls Sexuality. Religion Serves a Means to Provide Answers to Ultimate Questions 7. It is a basic requirement of group life. Durkheim, É. Sometimes it might have conservative effect, whereas in other cases it might contribute to social change. In contemporary industrial societies, people are also bound together by patterns of consumption, ways of life, laws and other forces. Frank E. Manuel (1959) had said that ‘religion was a mechanism which inspired terror, but terror for the preservation of society’. Social conflict and even wars often result from religious disputes. The unifying rituals of different faiths are also observed by individuals on the most significant occasions such as birth, marriage and death. 2. Religion as an Agent of Social Change 12. Education instill and transmit the social norms values and beliefs into the next generation. Disclaimer 9. Social Institution of Religion: The social organization of "Things that surpass the limits of our knowledge." For example, Bangladeshi immigrants in India, after settling in their new social environment, came to be identified as Indian Muslims. Religion as an Integrative Force 2. A follower of the religions internalizes these virtues and becomes disciplined citizen of the society. Religion provides a system of beliefs around which people may gather to belong to something greater than themselves in order to have their personal beliefs reinforced by the group and its rituals. Religion gives individuals a sense of identity—a profound and positive self-identity. Functionalists argue that religion is a conservative force and that this is a positive function for society and for individuals. At many times, even the so-called educated people regard religious laws as superior to the man-made laws. According to functionalists, education as a social institution serves. In such a society religion, instead of bringing about solidarity, could become the cause of disorganization and disunity. It already existed in village India and other places in the form of shamans, priests and magicians (shamans are treated as super-humans endowed with supernatural powers in some tribal societies). It provides peace of mind, promises prosperity and success in life, as well as effective and happy human relations. We will keep this apple transaction in mind as we apply this concept of functionalismto help us understand a major institution of nearly all societies: religion. One of these theories is the Marxist theory. FAMILY. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. However, religion is also a social institution, as it involves patterns of beliefs and behavior that help a society meet its basic needs, to recall the definition of social institution in Chapter 5 “Social Structure and Social Interaction”. Religion as a Source of Identity 8. For example, Martin Luther King fought for civil rights of Blacks in America. Members of moral community also share a common life. Given this approach, Durkheim proposed that religion has three major functions in society: it provides social cohesion to help maintain social solidarity through shared rituals and beliefs, social control to enforce religious-based morals and norms to help maintain conformity and control in society, and it offers meaning and purpose to answer any existential questions. Explain what Émile Durkheim tried to understand about religion. Suppose you buy an apple from a local producer rather than a massive supermarket. He opined that religion impedes social change by encouraging oppressed people to focus on other worldly concerns rather than on their immediate poverty or exploi­tation. The Family Institutions, Political Institutions, Educational Institutions, Religious Institutions etc. Persons convinced of their own essential wickedness can suffer extreme personal difficulties. Now, God is conceived of as a humane and considerate God. It prepare the child to know about the right and wrong. In simpler terms, religion keeps people away from seeing their lives and societal conditions in political terms. Among the manifest (open and stated) functions of religion are included defining the spiritual world and giving meaning to the divine. A religion is that institution which studies, practices and believes the existence of God and the mystery of life and death. Its members seek about the culture due to proper education. This type of experience is generally characterized as mystical; indeed the leading religious sects-for religion was According to Thomas Luckman (1983), ‘The prime function of religion is to give personal meaning to life’. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. religion as a social institution, able to influence the realization of the global idea of sustainable develop- ment, is related to its communicative function. Psychologizing Religion 10. Religion as a Source of Identity 8. Thomas O’Dea (1970) writes, ‘Men need emotional support in the face of uncertainty, consolation when confronted with disap­pointments and anxiety.’ It is often said that visiting places of worship and holy premises serves as outlets for releasing tension and stress. Integration and Solidarity; Explanation: Theodicy; Social Support; Order; Dysfunction (or conflict, see below) Marx and Conflict Theory. Religion as Social Control 4. Marxists suggest that by inducing a ‘false consciousness’ among the disadvantaged, religion lessens the possibility of collective political action. It should be noted that many religious leaders have acted in the forefront of many social and political movements. Durkheim was particularly concerned with a perplexing question, ‘How can human societies be held together when they are generally composed of individuals and social groups with diverse interests and aspirations’. These members also transmitted the culture from one generation to the other as a heritage. While conservatives have valued religion for its protective function, radicals have also often recog­nized that religion can be a support of the established order, and have, consequently, been critical of religion. Religions based on the belief in a single deity are monotheistic. 3. All religions have certain notions and beliefs that provide answers to the above questions. Religion as an Integrative Force 2. (1947). 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