Presentation on theme: "Is religion all about money?. Émile Durkheim (1) Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) believed that human societies are held together by religion, which serves."— Presentation transcript:
Is religion all about money?
Émile Durkheim (1) Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) believed that human societies are held together by religion, which serves to unite and preserve the community. In Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) he describes religion as: ‘A unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things…beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church, all who adhere to them.’ In Individualism and the Intellectuals (1898) he wrote: ‘Religion does not necessarily imply symbols and rites or temples and priests…it is nothing other than a body of collective beliefs and practices endowed with a certain authority.’
Is religion all about money? Émile Durkheim (2) He claimed that religion started when primitive communities got together to worship common gods. This led to a unified tribe or primitive clan worshipping a totem, which represented not only the clan god but also the unity of the clan itself, as expressed in shared rituals, values and a moral code. He wrote: ‘If religion has given birth to all that is essential in society, it is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.’ Durkheim said that the gods were only projections of the power of the community and that religion was a social activity, where people celebrated festivals and sacred events. He encouraged people to: ‘discover the rational substitutes for these religious notions that for a long time have served as the vehicle for the most essential moral ideas.’ Moral Education: A Study in the Theory and Application of the Sociology of Education (1925)
Is religion all about money? Max Weber (1) In The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), Weber said that religion helps people to gain an understanding and image of the world and how they live in it. Weber believed that religion provides the answer to the greatest human worries — why is there so much suffering in the world and what happens when we die? Religion offers a divine God of love and power in an imperfect world. But for Weber, religion is also about money. He understood that people want to know why some have good fortune and others bad and why there is so much suffering in the world. For Weber, religion offers the answers. Religion shows how people, especially the poor, can achieve salvation and gain eternal life — the pursuit of salvation, and therefore religion, is part of human motivation.
Is religion all about money? Max Weber (2) Weber coined the term ‘Protestant work ethic’ to describe a system whereby religious believers would work hard to gain financial success. They were to invest wisely to help the poor and those in need. In particular, if a person could gain wealth yet avoid the temptation it brought and give it away, then they would get to heaven: ‘Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.’ (Luke 18:22) According to Weber, the system developed and the pursuit of wealth became the ‘spirit of capitalism’. But bad habits formed in the rush to gain wealth for its own sake and capitalism became a ‘religion’ of its own — encouraging greed, laziness and the desire to make as much money with as little effort as possible.
Is religion all about money? Karl Marx (1) Karl Marx (1818–1883) claimed that religion is an illusion devised by humans to satisfy their emotional needs. These needs stem from the desire for money — for Marx, religion depends totally on economics. In Das Kapital (1867) he wrote: ‘religion is so fully determined by economics that it is pointless to consider any of its doctrines or beliefs on their own merits.’ Marx argued that religion is an illusion that creates fantasies for the poor and offers them the false hope of happiness in the afterlife. Religion is used by the rich to make the poor feel better. It provides peace and hope and keeps society functioning exactly as it is. In Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1843) he wrote: ‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opiate of the people.’
Is religion all about money? Karl Marx (2) Marx believed that religion is a delusion that avoids facing the truth and reality of life. It takes away the dignity of humanity and replaces it with servitude. Religion sides with the rich, just as the Christian Church has, for centuries, sided with the rich and the powerful. Marx’s views prompted the Roman Catholic Church to become wary of countries and religious movements with Marxist connections. In the Puebla Conference of Bishops in 1979, the then pope, John Paul II, declared that: ‘Those who sup with Marxism should use a long spoon.’