SOC100 Kean University Race Ethnicity Gender and Society Essay Questions

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Kean University


1. How did Durkheim and Marx theorize the role of religion in society? What are the similarities and what are the differences?

2. According to functionalists, religion serves a source of stability. Does this mean that a nation of atheists would be less stable than a nation of believers of religion? Make a sociological case to support your position.

3. How has the role of religion in U.S. politics changed in recent years or decades? Do you expect it to change in the near future?

4. Define terrorism and how should this term be defined and by whom? At what point should domestic incidents of mass violence be labeled as terrorism?

5. Define authoritarianism. What potential roles do modern technology and social media play in either supporting or challenging authoritarian governments around the world?

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Essay Questions




1. How did Durkheim and Marx theorize the role of religion in society? What are the
similarities and what are the differences?
Religion refers to a system of faith as well as worship for people in society. Religion,
therefore, involves people in the society having a particular belief in a supernatural being and
consequently worshipping it since it controls the universe. According to religion, the world and
all the living and non-living things on it were created by a supernatural being who controls all
the things that happen on it. God is believed to be the marker and controller of all living things in
the world hence people worship him. Through worshipping God, religious people can make
peace with their God hence get fortunes in their life. People believe that by worshipping God, all
their wishes will come to pass as well as live with peace and harmony with all the other people in
society. Durkheim and Marx developed theories that explain religion in society and its roles. The
description of religion by Durkheim and Marx have some similarities as well as difference
especially in the role played by religion in the society.
According to Marx, religion is a force that is capable of driving a change in society. Marx
viewed religion as a method and tool that can be used by capitalists to promote inequality in
society. Capitalists advocates for people in society to amass wealth for themselves through their
hard work. Capitalists do not call for sharing of resources earned by an individual and this
creates inequality in society. In a bid to promote capitalism in society, Marx states that religion
played a very crucial role since it was used to influence people to become capitalists and this
created inequality since some people are disadvantaged (Clark & Chiou, 2016). As such,
according to Marx, religion played some significant roles in society. He argued that religion was
used by the capitalist society to maintain the status quo of inequality in society and it played a
key role in creating social classes in the society as a result of inequality which led to some people



having more resources than others. The social classes in society made some people very
powerful while others become subjects to powerful people.
Durkheim, on the other hand, described religion as unified system practices and systems
of beliefs that are relative to usually relative to sacred objects or things. According to Durkheim,
there are supernatural beings who are very special hence people end up worshiping them. Marx
argues that religion has some crucial roles in society. Some of the key roles of religion according
to Marx Includes; it facilitates social cohesion, it also promotes religious-based morals and
finally, it provides answers to the existence of several things in the society. Durkheim, therefore,
argues that religion is very crucial in promoting good morals standards in society. Besides, it
helps in bringing people together through advocating for their peaceful coexistence in society
(Clark & Chiou, 2016).
There are some similarities and differences in the argument of both Durkheim and Marx
regarding religion. The similarities included; they both argue there is a supernatural being who
should be worshipped, they state that religion is a system of beliefs in the society that hold
people together and finally, religion is very crucial in shaping the quality lives of people in the
society. Despite having these similarities, there are some differences in the argument of both
Durkheim and Marx and they include; Marx`s theory of religion promoted inequality in the
society and this affects the unity of people adversely while Durkheim`s religious theory
advocates for social cohesion and peaceful coexistence of people in the society. Marx`s religion
theory facilitates the creation of social classes and capitalism in society while Durkheim`s theory
calls for equality in society and encourages sharing.



Clark, L. S., & Chiou, G. (2016). Religion Studies. The International Encyclopedia of
Communication Theory and Philosophy, 1-10.
2. According to functionalists, religion serves a source of stability. Doe...

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