For example, the Vatican has a tremendous amount of wealth, while the average income of Catholic parishioners is small. Functionalists believe religion meets many important needs for people, including group cohesion and companionship. In his writing The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), he contends that the Protestant work ethic influenced the development of capitalism. Women and religion. (2009). That was certainly true, as we have seen, in prehistoric times, but even in today’s highly scientific age, much of life and death remains a mystery, and religious faith and belief help many people make sense of the things science cannot tell us. (2011). 2002 [1905]. A fourth function of religion is greater psychological and physical well-being. Religion played a central role in the development of the Southern civil rights movement a few decades ago. Some form of religion is found in every known culture, and it is usually practiced in a public way by a group. By this he meant that religion, like a drug, makes people happy with their existing conditions. Fasching, Darrel, and Dell deChant. In terms of religion, feminist theorists assert that, although women are typically the ones to socialize children into a religion, they have traditionally held very few positions of power within religions. Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. Functionalists contend that religion serves several functions in society. 1989. First, Glenn Beck, Christine O'Donnell, and their conservative Christian sheep are wrong: religious faith is not necessary for a society to be successful and well-functioning. Their religious views lead them not to blame the capitalist class for their poverty and thus not to revolt. Working hard also doesn’t seem to have any relationship with Catholic or Protestant religious beliefs anymore, or those of other religions; information age workers expect talent and hard work to be rewarded by material gain and career advancement. Marx, K. (1964). Religion is also an example of a cultural universal, because it is found in all societies in one form or another. According to this perspective, religion has been used to support the “divine right” of oppressive monarchs and to justify unequal social structures, like India’s caste system. Many religions, including the Catholic faith, have long prohibited women from becoming spiritual leaders. (1998, September–October). He believed religion reflects the social stratification of society and that it maintains inequality and perpetuates the status quo. Religion is based on the idea of sin: all people are born sinners, impure souls, and if they don’t purify themselves, they will soon be condemned to hell by God, where they will have to experience eternal suffering. Belief in God, love of Jesus, prayer, and Bible study -- these things are clearly not … Much of the work of Émile Durkheim stressed the functions that religion serves for society regardless of how it is practiced or of what specific religious beliefs a society favors. New York, NY: Free Press. Barkan, Steven E., and Susan Greenwood. For many decades, the once-prominent place of religion in society has been eroded. Sociological perspectives on religion aim to understand the functions religion serves, the inequality and other problems it can reinforce and perpetuate, and the role it plays in our daily lives (Emerson, Monahan, & Mirola, 2011). Jews and other religious groups have been persecuted and killed since ancient times. Considerable research has emerged over the past five decades that demonstrates the benefits of religious practice for society. Critics also believe this theory overuses economic terminology and structure and point out that terms such as “rational” and “reward” are unacceptably defined by their use; they would argue that the theory is based on faulty logic and lacks external, empirical support. While most people consider religion as universal and therefore, a significant institution of societies. Moberg, D. O. Critics of RCT argue that it doesn’t fit well with human spiritual needs, and many sociologists disagree that the costs and rewards of religion can even be meaningfully measured or that individuals use a rational balancing process regarding religious affiliation. Sociology by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. 2001. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. 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