Druthers believes, when clan members worship their totemic minimal, they are in reality worshipping society, even though they themselves are not aware of this fact. The Collective Conscience In Deuterium’s view, the sacred symbols represent society collective conscience The collective conscience is the shared norms, values, beliefs and knowledge that make social life and cooperation between individuals possible. Regular shared religious rituals reinforce the collective conscience and maintain social integration. Participating in rituals binds individuals together, reminding them they are part of a community. Cognitive Functions of ReligionDruthers sees religion not only as the source of social solidarity, but also of our intellectual or cognitive capacities- our ability to reason and think conceptually.
In Deuterium’s view, religion is the origin of the concepts and categories we need for reasoning, understanding the world and communicating Druthers and Amass argue that religion provides basic categories such as time, space and causation- for example, with ideas about a creator bringing the world into being at the beginning of time. CRITICISMS Wordlessly notes that there is no sharp division between the sacred and the refine, and that different clans share the same totems.Deuterium’s theory may apply better to small scale societies with a single religion. It is harder to apply it to large scale societies , where two or more religious communities may be in conflict. His theory may explain social integration within communities but not conflicts between them. Postmodernists such as Mesenteric argue that Deuterium’s ideas cannot be applied to contemporary socio¶y’, because increasing diversity has fragmented the collective conscience, so there is no longer a single shared value system for religion to reinforce.Psychological Functions Mammalians agrees with Druthers that religion promotes solidarity.
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However, in his view, it does so by performing psychological functions for individuals. Mammalians identifies two types of situations in which religion performs this role: 1 . Where the outcome is important but is uncontrollable and thus uncertain. Mammalians contrasts fishing in the lagoon and fishing in the ocean: Lagoon fishing is safe and uses the predictable and successful method of poisoning.When the islanders fish there is no ritual Ocean fishing is dangerous and uncertain, always accompanied by ‘canoe magic’- rituals to ensure a safe and successful trip. 2. At times of life crisis Events such as birth, puberty, marriage and especially death, mark major and disruptive changes in social groups.
For example, the funeral rituals reinforce a feeling of solidarity among the survivors, while the notion of immortality gives comfort to the bereaved by denying the fact of death. Mammalians argues that death is the main reason for the existence of religious belief.Parsons: Values and Meaning Parsons identifies two other essential functions of religion in modern society: It creates and legitimates society basic norms and values by scrawling hem. This promotes value consensus and social stability It provides a source of meaning, answering the ‘ultimate’ questions about life, e. G. Why good people suffer. These may undermine our commitment to society’s values.
By answering such questions, religion helps people to adjust to adverse events and maintains stability.CIVIL RELIGION Bella argues that religion unifies society, especially a multi faith society like America. What unifies American society us an overarching civil religion- a belief system that attaches sacred qualities to society itself. Civil religion is a that in ‘the American way of life’ Civil religion integrates society in a way that individual religions cannot. American civil religion involves loyalty to the nation State and belief in God, both Of which are equated with being true American.It is expressed in various rituals, symbols and beliefs, e. G.
The pledge of allegiance to the flag. It sacrifices the American way of life and binds together Americans from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds EVALUATION OF FUNCTIONALISM Functionalism emphasizes the social nature of religion and the positive functions it performs, but it neglects negative aspects such as religion as a resource of oppression. It ignores religion as a source of division and conflict, especially in complex modern societies where there is more than one religion.