Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere, Assess The Contribution Of Religion To Social Change

934 words - 4 pages

Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of religion to social change. (18 marks)



Weber found that religion could cause social change, such as the Calvinism and capitalism. The Calvinists believed in predestination, so God had already chosen the elect to go to heaven and the individuals who hadn’t, could not do anything to change that. They believed that God was far above and beyond this words and greater than any mortal, that no human could possibly claim to know his will. This left the Calvinists feeling an ‘unprecedented inner loneliness’. When this is combined with the doctrine of predestination, this ...view middle of the document...

They invested money into their business and gained profit and this was Weber’s view of capitalism. Where the object is simply the acquisition of more and more money as an end in itself. Calvinism bought capitalism into this world.

Another way religion bought about social change was the American civil rights movement. The civil rights movement began with Rosa Parks; refusing to give up a seat for a white person on the bus. Many black people boycotted, marched and demonstrated against the segregation of black people after that.

Then, Dr. Martin Luther King led the black clergy into the freedom of ‘coloured people’ by meeting in churches. Their prayer meetings and hymn singing were a source of unity in the face of oppression. He was against violence and thought that this was not the way to gain their freedom. Steve Bruce saw religion in this context as an ideological resource – it provided beliefs and practices that protesters could draw on for motivation and support. He identified several ways in which religious organization are well equipped to support protests and contribute to social change, such as: taking the moral high ground, where the black clergy pointed out their hypocrisy in the belief of ‘love thy neighbour’ but supported racial segregation. Another way was channeling dissent; religion provides channels to express political dissent. For example, the Dr.’s funeral was a rallying point for the civil rights cause. And mobilizing public opinion, for example, the black churches in the South successfully campaigned for support across the whole of America.

Bruce saw the civil rights movement as an example of religion becoming involved in a secular struggle and helping cause social change. His view is that because both the protestors and activists shared the same values and beliefs, bought about shaming to the people in power and put into practice the principle of equality embodied in the...

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