Assess the view that religion is a conservative force (18m)
Many sociologists believe that the properties of religion make it a conservative force; it can be seen as a conservative force in the sense of being ‘traditional’ and defending traditional values and institutions. It is also considered conservative because it functions to conserve or preserve things as they are by stabilising society and sustaining the status quo.
It is seen that religions have conservative beliefs on moral issues, which stick to the traditional views for example on issues such as sex, divorce, and abortion many religions see theses as morally wrong or don’t permit them at all. It is seen that most religions also uphold ‘family values’ and often favour a traditional patriarchal domestic division of labour, for example there is the belief that the man should be at the head of the family, we which is embedded in the traditional marriage as the bride vows to ‘love’, ‘honour, and ‘obey’, with obey being the key word in this, however since 1966 it has been allowed that the bride is able to drop the vow to ‘obey’ if she so chooses which was a move most welcomed by liberal feminists. Hinduism endorses male domestic authority for example, the practise of arranged marriage meaning that females often have little to no say on who their life partner is in a traditional Hindu household.
The feminist, Marxist and functionalist sociological perspectives all argue as to what the role of religion is however they all argue that it contributes to social stability but Functionalists see religion as a conservative force as it functions to maintain society from disintegration and reducing the likelihood of a social collapse. Whereas Marxists see religion as a conservative ideology that prevents social change by legitimating or disguising exploitation and inequality, it creates false consciousness in the working class and prevents revolution and maintaining a capitalist society. Feminists see religion as a conservative force because it acts as an ideology that legitimates patriarchal power and maintains women’s