Identify and Briefly explain one advantage and two disadvantages of Functional definitions of Religion. (9 marks). One disadvantage of Functionalism in defining religion is that Conservative force states that it’s difficult to see how religion can be functioning to socialise society’s members into morality and social integration if only a minority of people attend church on a regular bases. Durkheim used the idea of Totems being able to bring ‘clans’ together and that the society used this totem as a way of worshipping togetherness. However, only a small amount of aboriginal groups were used, so it could be invalid and misleading to use this to generalise all aborigines let alone Religion as a whole. An advantage of functional definitions of religion is through the example of collective worship within a country of civil religion to show that there is still collective worship. For example, America’s new collection of beliefs, rituals and symbols with respect to things esablished within American’s society, it’s not opposed to Christianily and in fact shares a lot in common with it but is not in any extent Christian.
This allows the bringing together of nations and allows the symbolisation of the nation as the ‘people’, so therefore people in America worsip Americanism. Anotheer criticism of functional definition of religion is that it ignores dysfunctional aspects and gives little consideration to hostility between different religious groups. For example, Northan Ireland and Bosnia. These religious diversions have caused social disruption and conflict rather than promoting social order which Durkheim says is maintained by the teaching of moral norms and values and creating a collective conscience where everyone sticks together. Therefore this is proven false on the aspect of it being relevant to all religions due to the religious conflict in Ireland and Bosnia.