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Flashcards in Religion As Force For Social Change Deck (10):

What 4 major things did McGuire suggest interrelated factors which influence whether religion acts as conservative force or force for social change

Nature and extent of religious beliefs
Significance of religion in societys culture
Extent of social involvement
Degree of central authority in religious organisations



Religion caused capitalism
Type of Protestant belief founded by John Calvin causing emergence of capitalism in Europe


4 calvinist beliefs

1. Predestination- Whether or not go to heaven or hell
2. Asceticism- Abstinence and self-denial
3. Divine transcendence- God far beyond understanding so impossible to know his will, so don't know if going to heaven or hell.
4. Human vocation- God put humans on earth to glorify him through work, was duty as a human.


Salvation panic

These calvinist beliefs made people afraid they weren't going to heaven so people took success as a hint they were going there.


Criticisms of calvinism

- Marxists argue capitalism came before calvinism and was just used to justify oppression
- Scotland had strong calvinist beliefs but capitalism didn't develop at same rate


Neo-marxism: Engels

Religion has dual character- sometimes maintains stability in society but can also be a force for social change


Neo-marxism- Bloch

Principle of hope- religion inspires dreams of utopia and instead of waiting for afterlife, people decide to make life now more like heaven


Liberation theology

Catholic priests started this in South America to challenge oppression of poor that was happening. Using belief system in bible prompted them to fight oppression. In 1980's pope stopped this and got religion to support status quo, however the current pope is more sympathetic to principle of hope.



Counter hegemony:
Can help people see through ruling-class hegemony by offering idea of better world


Billings 1990 and how he supported Gramsci's work

Looked at 2 similar communities (miners vs textile workers) and how religion influenced one more than other. Identified 3 factors:
1. Leadership- preachers who were also union activists
2. Organisation- church buildings not owned by R/C where people could meet
3. Support- morale kept high with sermons, prayer meetings and singing compared to textile workers who were communists