religion and social change Essay

Words: 1114
Pages: 5

Religion on social change
This essay is to assess the contribution of religion as a cause of social change and what it has cause throughout the years, some say that religion acts as a conservative force, other say it is a major contributor of social change and some like to take the middle ground on this topic.
Religion to sociologist can be seen in two types of ways which is either a conservative force (keeping thing the way they are) or a force for change. Those who see it as a conservative are the ones who believe it’s a force of stability and order whereas the force for change sociologist would say religion encourages societies to change. Religion being a conservative force function is to preserve status quo by maintaining
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Steve Bruce is interested in the relationship between religion and social change, he therefore used two case studies to analyse this, The American civil rights movements and The New Christian Right. The new Christian movement is a religiously motivated movement to end racial segregation in America in the 1950s to 60s. The black clergy played a major role (Dr Martin Luther King) giving moral legitimacy to activists, they provided sanctuary and unity, appealed to common Christian values of equality.
Bruce sees religion is an ideological resource he identified several ways in which religious organisations are well equipped to support protest and contributes to social change: 1) Taking the moral high ground which is the black clergy pointed out the hypocrisy of white clergy who preached ‘love thy neighbour’ but supported racial segregation, 2) channelling dissent is religion provides channels to express political dissent, For example the funeral of Martin Luther king was a rallying point for the civil right cause. 3) Acting as honest broker because churches can provide a context for negotiating changes because they are often respected by both sides in a conflict and seen as standing above ‘mere politics’ and lastly 4) Mobilising public opinion is when black churches in the south successfully campaigned for support across the whole of America. It had the shared values of