Evaluate feminist views on the role and functions of religion in society today (33 Marks)
All over the world religion is portrayed differently giving people many different opinions on it. In general feminists portray the view that women are oppressed by men and they believe that this is enforced through different ways including religion.
Feminist believe that religion is a product of patriarchy meaning it serves the purpose of men. This could be suggested due to the majority of religious figures being men including God himself. Some sociologists such as Armstrong (1993) believe that women are marginalised through the church as they are not able to become priests in the catholic religion. They see this as being pushed out of society and discriminated against by men. Although the majority of religious ...view middle of the document...
The catholic church enforce such rules as no sex before marriage, no contraception and no abortion even in circumstances such as rape. On the other hand a similar view is seen by Marxists as they argue that religion serves the needs of capitalism. Religion is seen as the opium of the people by dulling the pain of oppression in this case of females. If this continues women can develop a false consciousness to the negativity therefore prevent change happening.
Religion is seen as a means of providing justification for the subordination of women. If they are unable to turn to religion for support in times of hardship such as divorce there is always a negative set of consequences drawn upon by the church and religious views. Functionalist argue that religion enforces and develops social norms and shared values suggest equality between all. If religion causes a divide between men and women as in the feminist view social harmony cannot be achieved as differing rules could be suggested apply to different groups of people.
On balance feminists see the role of religion in society as a very negative thing but this isn’t always true. I believe they disregard certain aspects as the differing views and the high regards women have in different religions. In religions such as Judaism, women are seen as equals to the men. An example of this is ‘Rosh chodesh’ women get the first day of every month off which was a privilege to men to was taken away and given to women instead. This is also the same in the Shinto religion where women lead prayer services. Certain traditional religions could be seen as derogatory to certain females but this is not the case in all religions. In society today I believe that the function of women in society and religion has bettered due to laws and regulations according to female rights. Although feminists see religion as patriarchal there are more women’s right for these things more now than ever.