Religion Is Seen as Not Promoting Social Change for Marx and Durkheim. Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:25:15
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Religion is a powerful role in influencing a society and the lives of its members. The sociological traditions of Marx and Durkheim view religion totally differently, yet they both agree that religion is a very important aspect of a society. Durkheim and Marx each had their own definitions of religion. However, we will learn that they both see an important role that religion plays in a society, as well as the ways in which society creates and shapes their religions. Unlike Durkheim and Weber, Marx was not much concerned with the studying religion although his ideas on religion are very influential.

For marx religion He further feels that a world that requires illusion (religion) has something wrong with it. Marx talks about two primary functions of religion in what he calls the real world. First he says that religion is the opium of the people. Marx feels religion provides anesthesia to the masses. To him, religion is a way for people to escape from some of the suffering in their lives or to somehow feel better despite all of their suffering. Religion deters suffering of the present situations of people.

It allows people to put off their suffering because they believe it will be taken care of in heaven, or where ever, after they die. And as it would follow, religion helps people put more hope into the year after. People who are religious really do believe life will be better for them after they die. Also religion helps to maintain the oppression of the lower classed people by the people who make up the upper classes. The second primary function of religion in a society, according to Karl Marx, is that it is the sigh of the oppressed creature.

Religion brings with it a safety value. People end up being lulled into the protection religion seems to offer them, and people do feel the need to feel and be safe. Religion also gives people an opportunity to complain about the ways of the world. The world is not the way religion says it should be and therefore people complain about the way it actually is, as a way of feeling like a good member of their chosen religion. Religion allows people to acknowledge the dehumanized state of their lives.

It helps people to see the horrible way in which we are in and it helps keep us in this horrible way. We realize through religion that we are not finding fulfillment in our lives. Marx would view a relationship between religious belief and progressive social activism as a display of a dehumanized society yearning for self actualization. The people of a progressive social activist society are not getting self actualization because there political system allows for scarcity of necessities, goods and jobs, and they also oppress the people of their society.

According to Marx, if people are without self actualization they will create a place where they can find self actualization. Religion helps people do that. Durkheim dedicated a considerable part of his academic life to the study of religion especially religion in small scale traditional societies. Allotting a single sentence to Durkheim in a kind of appendix to The Sacred & The Profane, Eliade comments that the French founder of sociology believed that he had found the sociological explanation for religion in totemism.

Durkheim bases his work on the totemism practiced by Australian aborigines and argues that totemism is the most elementary or simple form of religion. Durkheim starts Forms by looking at how religion may be defined and here the sacred profane dichotomy comes immediately into play: the primary characteristic of religion is that it divides the world into the two domains of sacred and profane. In fact, the two are opposed so fundamentally that they are seen as separate worlds. In Durkheims view the sacred is far from being synonymous with the divine.

Not only may gods and spirits be sacred, but also things like rocks, trees, pieces of wood, in fact anything. For what makes something sacred is not that it is somehow connected to the divine but that it is the subject of a prohibition that sets it radically apart from something else, which is itself thereby made profane. Durkheim describes religion in terms of beliefs and rites. For him, the details of these in particular religions are particular ways of dealing in thought and action with the fundamental dichotomy of sacred and profane.

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