Sociology and Religion Sociological Study Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The emphasis on social stability, as seen in many institutions' suspicion regarding social change, can lead to the perpetuation of social inequality. In some instances, there is even a stronger link between religion and power structures.

The caste system in India privileges the rights of the priestly class. However, political leaders in India have also formed strong ties with the Brahmin class. These ties serve to "legitimize" the power in the political government.

Evaluating conflict theory

Conflict theory provides several important insights regarding the conservative role that religion has played in society. McGuire and Collins' study provide specific cases that uphold Marx's original premise. These studies show how conflict thinking still remains relevant, even until today.

However, the emphasis on the conservative and status quo orientation of religion also glosses over religion's liberating potential. Theologians like Gustavo Gutierrez, a priest who served in a Peruvian slum in the 1960s, argued that ministering to spiritual needs was not enough, and that the church should take a more active role in politics. Since then, the movement has grown into a larger mass movement in Latin America. Because of the importance religion occupies in many Latin American societies, the politicized words of a priest have a much stronger effect. Examples such as these show that religion can serve dual and even opposite functions in society.

Works Cited

Collins, Randall (1981). Sociology since mid century: Essays in theory cumulation. New York: Academic Press.

Durkheim, Emile. (1912). The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. New York: Oxford University Press

Hunter, James Davison. (1983). American evangelicalism: Conservative religion and the quandary of modernity. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Lawson, R. (1998). From American church to immigrant church: the changing face of seventh-day Adventism in metropolitan new York. Sociology of Religion, Winter 1998. Retrieved Oct 23, 2004, at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SOR/is_4_59/ai_53590308.

McGuire, Meredith (1981). Religion: The Social Context. Belmont: Wadsworth.

Wilson, William Julius (1999). The Bridge Over the Racial Divide:…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Collins, Randall (1981). Sociology since mid century: Essays in theory cumulation. New York: Academic Press.

Durkheim, Emile. (1912). The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. New York: Oxford University Press

Hunter, James Davison. (1983). American evangelicalism: Conservative religion and the quandary of modernity. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Lawson, R. (1998). From American church to immigrant church: the changing face of seventh-day Adventism in metropolitan new York. Sociology of Religion, Winter 1998. Retrieved Oct 23, 2004, at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SOR/is_4_59/ai_53590308.

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