Marxist and feminists both agree that religion benefits the capitalist class, however they both disagree of the capitalist. Feminists would argue that religion is in favour of men whereas Marxist would argue that religion is in favour of the capitalist class. Marxism argue that they help our understanding of religion with their theory. Marxists argue that religion benefits the capitalist class and maintains exploitation in the working class. Religion acts as a weapon to the working class to stop them from overthrowing capitalist. Marxist Lenin describes this is a spiritual gin.
Working class are dosed with spiritual gin to keep them exploited and capitalist through over a mystic fog to stop them overthrowing capitalist. The working class are brought into a false consciousness. Whilst they are beating exploited, I they are compensated with after life, they believe that if they work hard they will have a good after life. Feminists help our understanding of society because they argue that religion benefits men and maintains women’s subordination. They argue that institutions are male dominated such as Orthodox Judaism, Armstrong argues that this is a form of marginalization.
Feminist Sadaawi argues that the reason religion is male dominated it because society is. Religion legimates women’s reproduction, Christians are forbidden to use contraception or abort, therefore the rise of babies occur, making women more poor and reliant on men for food and shelter. Some argue that this is why women are more religious than men as they need reassurance and guidance. Women are also restricted on their freedom and undergo unfair treatment such as genital mutation. Women in the Muslim religion are made to wear a hijab when entering public. Some feminists see this as a sign of oppression.
However, feminist Woodhead would argue that the wearing of a hijab represents freedom as women can enter the public without revealing their past. Woodhead argues that religious attitudes have changed and have therefore changed women in society today. Women now use religion to gain respect, evangelic men must obey and respect women. Another way feminist have changed religion is female priests. In 1990’s the Church of England allowed female priests, and in 2005 one in five priests were female. This helps people understand the changes in society in relation to religion. However, functionalists would disagree with Marxism and feminism.
They argue that religion is a conservative force and a force for change. Functionalists see religion as helping people deal with severe stress and anxiety. Mallinowski argues that religion helps when people are going through a mid life crisis such as birth, marriage and death. He argues that death is the main reason why religion survives. Malinowski also argues that religion helps people In times of uncertainty. He researched into lagoon and ocean fishing. He found that lagoon fishing was safe however ocean fishing was dangerous and uncertain and was therefore accompanied with canoe magic.
Durkheim argues that religion brings people together and gives them a shared identity. This helps people understand religion, not Marxist and feminists views. Durkheim argues that shared religious rituals reinforce the collective conscience and prevent social integration and rapid social change. Functionalist Parsons argues that religion provides a set of Norms and values and people would form a guilty conscience if they were broken. Parson said that this helps reduce crime as if someone were to Steal they would form a guilty conscience.
Parsons also argues that religion helps people with ultimate questions such as why do the good die?. Overall, functionalists argument against Marxist and feminists accusation about religion benefitting the capitalist class is that instead religion is a force for change, not benefitting a certain class. An example of religion being a force for change in the talibanstion in Afganistan promoting change. Gramsci argues that Religion counts as a hegemony in showing oppressed people alternative ways. Marxist and feminist would strongly disagree with functionalist argument and insist that it is to benefit the ruling class.