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About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!
Religion can be defined as ‘the belief in and worship of a superhuman power’. It can be argued that religion can provide harmony and consensus (agreement) to society or on the other hand, that it can cause conflict and divisions within society.
Marxists believe that ‘religion is the opium of the people’. This means that religion eases the exploitation the proletariat feel as they are controlled by the bourgeoisie. Therefore, religion justifies the subordination of the rich having power over the poor. This causes divisions within social classes and conflict is caused as a result. An example of this is shown in the hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful’ as the verse states ‘the rich man at his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered his estate’. A false class consciousness is created because religion is an ideological belief system which distorts reality. It legitimises the bourgeoisie’s position and makes the proletariat believe suffering is a virtue and that they will be rewarded in their afterlife. Consequently, divisions and conflict are created between social classes. This is supported by the Hindu caste system as their religion; Hinduism, states that you are born into a certain caste and marriage between castes is forbidden. Consequently, karma means that if you accept and observe the rules of the caste, such as what foods must be eaten and rules of purity and impurity, then you will be rewarded in your afterlife and reincarnated into a higher caste. This suggests that religion causes division between people which must be accepted.
Lenin, a Marxist, states that religion is a ‘spiritual gin’, meaning religion is an intoxicant given to people to keep them in their place. This means that religion acts as a form of social control and therefore a consensus and harmony is not created because people are oppressed and exploited by the higher class.
To add to this, Fundamentalist beliefs have also caused social conflict and divisions. Islamic Fundamentalists have caused tensions all over the world because terrorist attacks such as 9/11 have meant that there is conflict in society as many do not agree with the values and beliefs of Islamic Fundamentalists. Levels of security and tensions have arisen due to these attacks. This shows that Fundamentalist beliefs have a serious impact around the world, and the world turns against them, creating divisions. There is no harmony or consensus created between Fundamentalist beliefs and the rest of society.