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Evaluate the View That Religion Is an Important Source of Moral Values in Contemporary Socities

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“Evaluate the view that religion is an important source of moral values in contemporary societies”
The debate as to whether religion is a vital source of moral values in contemporary society is continuous. Sociologists aim to know and understand exactly how and if religion plays any role in current society. This leads us to ask what exactly religion is. According to sociologists, there are three main ways of defining religion: substantive, functional and social constructionist. Max Weber (1905) describes substantive religion as a belief in a superior or supernatural power that is above nature and cannot be explained scientifically. Substantive definitions are exclusive – they draw a clear line between religious and non-religious beliefs. To be a religion, a set of beliefs must include beliefs in God or the supernatural. Functional definitions, however, are inclusive – allowing sociologists to include a wide range of beliefs and practices. Emile Durkheim (1915) defines it in terms of contribution it makes to social integration rather than specific belief in a higher being. Milton Yinger (1970) identifies functions that religion performs for individuals, such as answering ‘ultimate questions’. Whereas, the final definition is social constructionist takes an interpretivist approach focusing how religion is defined by the individual. This definition believes that it is impossible to produce a single universal definition of religion to cover all cases since in reality different individuals and groups mean very different things by ‘religion’. This will now lead us to the main section of this essay, is religion an important source of moral values.
Functionalists such as Durkheim and Parsons do agree that religion provides moral values in modern society. Functionalists think that society’s most basic need is the necessity for social order and solidarity so that its members…...

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