religion and social inequality

Max Weber believed religion could be a force for social change. Admitting the complexity of the issues, some religious norms and traditions can contribute to the formation of gender inequalities and to subordinate the role of women in society. Tobin Grant | … In short, he treated religion as a social institution. Karl Marx’s critical approach demanded that action be taken to resolve social inequalities. They are concerned, not with a biological phenomenon, but with a spiritual relation and the conduct to be based on it. Karl Marx viewed religion as a tool used by capitalist societies to perpetuate inequality. Social inequality can also be established through discriminatory legislation. Places where there is highly unequal distribution of income (Gini coefficient) are significantly more religious (2). Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. Contemporary research also finds that religion thrives in situations of inequality. The social-conflict approach to religion highlights how religion, as a phenomenon of human behavior, maintains social inequality by advancing a worldview that justifies oppression. In the past decade, there has been a resurgence of interest among scholars in the relationship between religion and different social, economic and political outcomes. Religion, he acknowledged, is a matter of faith, and faith is not provable or disprovable through scientific inquiry. Using an exploratory quantitative analysis, the influence of religiosity on gender inequality in social, economic and political spheres is examined. With the establishment of more equal social democracies, religion declines as illustrated by the decline of the majority Christianity in Europe. Social inequality occurs when resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through norms of allocation, that engender specific patterns along lines of socially defined categories of persons. The largest increase in social hostilities related to religious norms occurred in Europe, where incidents of threats and violence multiplied throughout the span of the study. Religion and Inequality Go Hand-in-Hand Why some countries are more religious than others—and why, assumptions to the contrary, the U.S. is not unusually religious. A long tradition of theoretical and empirical work has focused on the relationship between religion and religious institutions and income, work, wealth, and inequality. Rather, Durkheim tried to understand the role played by religion in social life and the impact on religion of social structure and social change. The inequality which they deplore is not inequality of personal gifts, but of the social and economic environment.

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