Conflict theory, as Karl Marx adds, has put society in a state of constant conflict because of the finite competition for resources. The way to retain social order is conjectured to be by dominance and force instead of consensus and conformity (Roberts, Keith, and David 25). Theory suggests, in many cases by eliminating the poor who have little influence, that people who have money and power strive to hold on to power by any possible means. This essay explores conflict theory, especially with Protestant faiths including Baptist Protestants, from the viewpoint of religion. Role of Religion
Religion has been critical in explaining certain aspects of life that even science cannot especially on matters relating to life and death. It has served as an excellent source for understanding life from the perspectives of believers in the works of God rather than science (Roberts, Keith, and David 62). Secondly, religion promotes social unity as well as stability in so many ways that include common sets of beliefs and standard practices that often strengthen the social bonds of every group of believers. It is vital to acknowledge that power of sets of shared ideas is a significant source of socialization.
The third role of religion touches on social control and thus strengthening the social order. Religions always tend to control the behavior of people through stressing the importance of observing specific moral actions such as the ten commandments as in the case of Baptist Christians. The primary goal of religion is to teach their members how to behave in a manner that is representative of the respective faiths (Roberts, Keith, and David 71). The fourth function of religion is to foster psychological and physical well-being. Religion offers a place where people share their frustrations and social interaction in a manner that brings comfort and peace of mind.
Lastly, religion plays the critical role of motivating people to work towards positive social change. For instance, religious beliefs prompted Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movements in the United States along other civil rights activists to demand freedom for worship (Roberts, Keith, and David 83). The implication is that religion played a critical role in attaining the freedoms and rights that humanity in various parts of the world today.
Religion and Conflict
In as much as religion confers various benefits to those who practice it, conflict theory has it that it also reinforces social inequality and conflict. According to Karl Marx, religion is the opiate of the masses implying that it makes people comfortable with their current situations (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard 11). Karl Marx proposed that people should rise and overthrow the wealthy and powerful people who have dominated them hence the source of their poverty through oppression.
Just like other religious groups, Baptist Christians view poverty from within the meaning of Christianity and consider it as the will of God. Moreover, most of them believe that enduring poverty will one time make them receive rewards in the afterlife from God (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard 19). Consequently, people do not believe that the capitalist class is not their problem and do not see the need to revolt against them. According to Karl Marx, religion makes such groups of people accept that they are poor and the result has been a maintenance of the current systems of social inequality.
Baptists are considered as protestants even though they disown such an identity and observes the Lord’s Supper, communion. The group believes that only professing believers and should be done through complete immersion in water as opposed to others preferring sprinkling(Andersen, Margaret, and Howard 27). The Church also observes soul competency, salvation through pure faith while using the Bible as the principle rule for faith and practice. Baptists have two ministerial positions that include pastors and deacons as well as ordinances that include baptism and the communion.
The Baptist Church has been facing all sorts of challenges that include racial disparities between blacks and whites. However, studies have shown the identifying the differences depend on the size of the congregation, racial attitudes, and church attendance (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard 51). Those who attend a church with a more substantial gathering are less likely to explain racial inequality in respect of racial discrimination. Baptist Churches especially in the US border on racial discrimination, gender inequality as well as income disparities among the Congregation.
All Baptists do not enjoy similar economic and social status, and these would be an excellent source of social conflict as people find themselves still divided into specific aspects of life (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard 42). Gender inequality is no longer a secondary issue as men dominate various positions of the Baptist Churches leaving women wondering of their role in the same group. A recent report revealed that more than half of the world’s wealth is controlled by just 1 percent of the world’s population means that income and economic disparities are that significant.
Religion acts as a source of social conflict going by the economic, gender as well as racial disparities that exist among the congregations in various places of worship across the world. However, Karl Marx’s theory of Conflict Theory gives insights into how religion can be a source of social conflict.
Andersen, Margaret L, and Howard F. Taylor. Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2008. Print.
Roberts, Keith A, and David Yamane. Religion in Sociological Perspective. Los Angeles: SAGE/Pine Forge, 2012. Print.
If you like this sample, we will email it to you with pleasure!