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Topic 2 (religion as a conservative force

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Religion's conservative beliefs
Catholic church forbis divorce and abortion and opposes homosexuality; Hinduidm endorses male authority and arranged marriages
Religion's conservative functions
It functions to preserve: Functionalists believe it maintains social solidarity, Marxists believe it maintains ruling class ideology for example
Studied Calvinism and how it brought about the emergence of modern capitalism in 16th/17th century. Calvinism involves pre-destination, God's calling, Ascetisism and divine transcendence
An 'elect' group will enter heaven, nothing you do can influence whether you are 'elect'
God's Calling
Work is a religious duty: 'Lose no time, be always employed in something useful' Benjamin Franklin, people put on earth to glorify God's name through work, this led to profit/investment=capitalism
Avoid luxuries such as recreative sex, drugs, gluttony: 'Idleness is a sin', simple life.
Divine Transcendence
Calvinists get 'salvonic panic' including 'unprecedented inner loneliness' dut to no calvinist being able to claim they know God.
Criticises Weber's theory of Calvinism arguing that capitalism existed before Calvinism, with out the material goods needed for capitalism, no amount of ideas will make it happen
Criticises Weber's theory of Calvinism: technological change caused capitalism, not calvinism- places like Scotland were calvinist but were slow to develop capitalism
Criticies Tawney: Scotland was slow to develop capitalism because of lack of investment and skilled labour- Weber merely claims calvinism was a big cultural influence
American Civil Rights Movement: religion acted as motivational support/ideological resource; churches offered gathering places, rituals provided unity: "love thy neighbour". Religious organisations take the moral high ground, channel dissent, act against the honest broker and mobilise public opinion.
South African Apartheid: Archbishop tutu supported abolition-he organised peaceful marches against apartheid
The New Christian Right
a politically and morallly conservative, protestant, fundamentalist moevement that made change but were however largely unsuccsessful in meeting aims
The New Christian right didn't achieve aims because because only 15% of population as most supported it + participants found it hard to cope with other groups, even on same issues
Marxist: religion can unite oppressed groups by providing set of beliefs that bind the group e.g. christian sects rising against Roman rule; religon can be the basis of future action: with out being bound by common beliefs the Christian sects may not have won
Dual Character
Marx believes religion can humanise a dehumanised world, even if the comfot is illusionary
Ernst Bloch
Neo-Marxist:religion is expression of 'the principle of hope' religion provides this, when matched with effective political organisation change can be made
Neo-Marxist: Liberation Theology,Latin America: priests started resisting state terror in the 70s giving support in the form of 'base communitites' to the poor. However in the 80s the pope banned this on the grounds of it being too marxist
emphasised the liberation theology played an important part in resisting state terror and brining democracy
Millenarian movements:studied 'cargo cults' in Melanesia where islanders tried to stop the whites taking the natives cargo; used chritsian beliefes and religious images to unite; many secular nationalist groups developed out of milenarian movements
Neo-Marxist:Hegemony and counter hegemony
The dominance of ideas and the way the ruling class utilize these ideas to maintain control
counter hegemony
religion isn't always tied to ruling class ideals + some members of clergy may act as 'organic intellectuals' who help workers to see their real situation
Applies Gramsci's theory comparintg class sturggle in 2 communities finding that coal miners were more militant towards stirkes and textile workers were more accepting