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Georgia Lofts

Georgia Lofts


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About Me:Biomedical Science Graduate

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Critiques of religion

Critiques of religion

Critiques of Religion Revision Notes





- Durkheim looked at origins of religion, meaning and function to investigate his ideas

-He noted that religion is an important part of the stability and integration in a society


Defined religion as

- a means of social cohesion- by this he means that religion brings people together and creates a sense of community

a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things

a framework for the values and ideas held by society- religion influences what society values, and our morals

does not exist independently, a community activity, therefore religion would not be as powerful as it is without its numbers of followers

group religious activities strengthen society- if society comes together and shares the same values, they are stronger

he believes religion is not so much about God, but more a consolidation of society, it provides a sense of identity


Believed that

God is a ‘symbol of society’

imaginary beings unconsciously fabricated by society to exercise control

the sense of the holy and allegiance to God is infact society’s claim to absolute loyalty of its members- shown where customs and traditions are strong

the human animal has created God in order to preserve his own social existence

religion is used as a tool of organisation e.g. there is a moral imperative as the human stands before the divine

the notion of morals is not supernatural, but a symbol of society

there is a strength from being in a group, not alone, religion is a tribal attitude, in religious worship the feelings of need fear and allegiance are reinforced

religion serves to unite, there is no separate entity called God, just society, therefore God does not exist

not only is it a social creation but is in fact ‘society divinised,’ worship is only projection of power

described religion as a totem-worshipping clan, it is about what society desires, e.g obeying rules due to it being part of God’s plan. Totemism is a creation within primitive tribes which served to create a community of people worshipping

in modern society people need to ‘discover the rational substitutes for these religious notions’



Based on tribal studies

Outdated ideas on society

fails to explain whether there is a distinction between a religious community and belief in God

religion doesn't have to be a community event

religion hasn't changed greatly after the many years it has been around, yet society has, can that be explained

relies on accounts of ‘primitive cultures’

 broad, is the link to God and society that great? is there enough scope for potential change with religion and society itself?

no better solution to problems identified

ignores happiness religion brings, shared community, religion can be a positive force, e.g ‘liberation theology’ where strength is given to the oppressed




the first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion 

all religious, moral and political life rooted in economics

God was created in mans image of God , then becomes embroidered in society

materialistic view which conflicts with religion, therefore religion is false a materialism which is absolutely atheistic and resolutely hostile to all religions

religion is a ‘reversed-world consciousness it legitimises social inequality and disguises the true nature of exploitation

those who are atheist and work for themselves in a communist society begin to feel alienated, religion is an alienating force, the only way for it to be abolished is to have a revolution

religion-universal ground for consolation opium of people  if religion were removed, people would see their real situation and rise up, but this a vicious circle. As when the revolution takes place then religion will be abolished, by for the revolution to take place, it needs to be abolished

a way to control people, whilst the perceive it as a safety net, it is the oppression of people e.g when used by the ruling aristocracy, to keep people suppressed, they told them their position in society was God given and to rebel would jeopardise their place in heaven

therefore when the communist society is obtained religion will disappear as social and economic factors are what give religion its rise.



people that are happy with their lives and are religious argue Marx has made strong assumptions

political forms will still dominate without religion

there are other powers which control people



Religious believers manipulated



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