Essay to modern capitalism. However, the role

Essay Question 1:Karl Marx declared that religion’s role in society is to merely create delusional hope for the exploited. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world, and the soul of the soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” (Marx Lecture: 4). Marx explained that people who are economically exploited are distressed and religion provides a sense of consolation. Marx compared religion to opium. People experience pain relief from opium drugs. However, opium’s do not actually fix their physical injury but only aides with relieving the pain and suffering. Comparably, religion does not fix the underlying causes of people’s suffering but helps them forget why they are suffering while constructing a delusional future. On the other hand, Max Weber challenged Marx’s view on materialism by asserting that not everything can be boiled down to economics. Weber argued that ideas influence material conditions. He asserted that religion helped give rise to modern capitalism. However, the role of religion in contemporary society was different during Weber’s time. Religion had started to decline in his modern society. Capitalism no longer needed religion to support it. Weber coined the term “iron cage” that proclaimed that people were stuck in the cage of capitalism. All religious values were gone as society thrived and became more rationalized. Moreover, Durkheim described the role of religion in his contemporary society to be a new form of religion. God and society were the same thing in his contemporary society. This complex society replaced traditional religion with religion of self. People started worshipping themselves that resulted in individuals becoming their own gods. Furthermore, Marx did not declare that religion played a part of the creation of modern society. Marx supported the argument of materialism where “the production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first direct interwoven with the material activity” (Marx GI: 154). He asserted that religion is just like any other social organization that it sustained by material and economic truths. On the other hand, Weber asserted that religion played a role in the creation of contemporary society by fueling the development of capitalism. Weber took the correlation of the protestant ethic and spirit of capitalism to demonstrate that ideas influence economic conditions. The spirit of capitalism proclaimed that the pursuit of wealth is the ultimate purpose of one’s life. In essence, making money to make more money is the ultimate goal in the capitalist society. Similarly, one of the protestant ethic teachings was predestination. This predestination referred to the notion that god appoints salvation to only some people. Protestants believed that the attainment of wealth was a sign of god’s love. This religious motivation provoked protestants to work hard and accumulate wealth. In addition, the other influential religious teaching was the notion of the “calling” which proclaimed that everyone had a god-appointed task to execute. This religious dimension made protestants work hard in a specialized task. Likewise, this “calling” correlated really well with the specialized division of labor in capitalism. Overall, religion fueled ¬†capitalism into a “powerful modern economic world, bound to the technical and economic conditions of mechanic production” (Weber PA: 170). On the other hand, Durkheim asserted that the role of religion did play a part of the creation of contemporary society. Durkheim proposed that religion influenced the ideas and behaviors of individuals in society. He asserted that all religions are real and they all compel people to act in a certain way. In addition, Durkheim explained that religion plays a part of the integration of society. Durkheim began researching primitive societies that were not yet differentiated. All in all, Durkheim observed that religion has two things in common. Beliefs and rites were the two things that every basic society had in common. Beliefs are symbols, representations, and opinions. Rites are the forms of actions initiated from the beliefs. In essence, they are the practices of religion. According to Durkheim, “religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, thing set apart and forbidden” (Durkheim EF: 44). In other words, religion is system of representations attached to a collectivity that separates the world into sacred and profane. He asserted that religion is different from magic because religion has a church. This church represents a moral community where they share common beliefs. These individuals are attached to the community with sacred symbols that are guidelines for action. Additionally, Marx did not assert that religion was a vital motor of social change or social stability. Marx argued that his method of historical materialism is the ultimate motor of social change which states, “changes in the material conditional of life, i.e. social structure, are the driving force of history, i.e. social change” (Marx Lecture: 4). Since, religion is dependent of material conditions, it has no development nor history. Furthermore, Weber argued that religion is not a motor in either social change or social stability because it rests on mechanical foundations now. Economics has taken over and ripped religious meanings out of society. Furthermore, Durkheim argued that religion to some extent is still a motor of social stability in society. For Durkheim, religion constructed social stability by providing people with the same sacred symbols. These symbols influence people’s behaviors and act as an agent of socialization. In addition, the collective practice of religion within a church brings people together. Thus, this physical union strengthens their social bonds. Furthermore, Marx demonstrated that it is possible to live in a society without religion since it is not a prominent component in society. In addition, Marx’s ideology of base and superstructure explained that economic conditions is the base of society while religion, law, and politics are the superstructure. Likewise, Weber asserted that it is possible to live in a society without religion. Individuals are prisoners of the iron cage of capitalism. The advancement of rationzaliation creates a society where religion is not needed anymore, regardless of, religious motives. According to Durkheim, it is possible to live in a society without religion but he firmly believed that religion transforms as society changes. In other words, religion reshapes itself ¬†into a different form of religion. In addition, Durkheim predicted that religion’s influence would decline as society becomes more technical. He asserted that scientific thoughts would overthrow religious thoughts. In result, people will stop participating in religious rituals and ceremonies. Thus, the practice of religious rituals are key to maintaining social stability because it reinforces the integration between individual and society. All in all, Marx does not directly state his representation of sociology. However, it can be predicted that Marx thought of sociology and religion independently. Marx asserted that religion blinds people from their exploitation and reinforces social inequality. Furthermore, Weber argued that the field of sociology should do empirical research to understand people’s attentions and motives. In other words, Weber argued that sociologists have to look at social actions to determine why people do what they do. Weber firmly believes that religion and sociology are independent concepts. Weber argued that the world was not created by god and that the world is just a mechanism of cause and effect. All in all, Durkheim asserted that sociology and religion are independent from each other. Durkheim firmly believed that sociology was a independent discipline. He asserted that sociology was a way to study society. For instance, Durkheim claimed that society is a thing and one must look at social facts to explain social life. Social facts are values, institutions, norms, or laws that influence the behavior or attitudes of individuals in a society. Durkheim asserted that religion falls under social facts. Religious ideas impact how individuals will conduct in life. Essay Question 2: Karl Marx described the differences between past and present societies by his model of social change. These different stages established the development of societies such as, tribal, ancient, feudal, and capitalist. Marx described tribal society as the “undeveloped stage of production, at which a people lives by hunting and fishing” (Marx GI: 160). Human beings are collectively working to produce their material means. At this stage, division of labor is at a very preliminary level. Next, an ancient communal society emergences. During the development of this society, private property starts to develop as an underlying form of communal ownership. The emergence of classes begin with the slave masters as the ruling class and the slaves as the property less class. In the feudalist society, the serfs were required to live on the lord’s land and share his production with the lord. Thus, the capitalist society develops which is Marx’s modern society. The capitalist class are the bourgeoisie who own the land, factories, machines, products, and wealth and the proletariats are the workers. Capitalism flourished as a product of specialized division of labor. Marx argued that this specialized division of labor creates alienation that “becomes a power of its own confronting him; it means that the life which he has conferred on the object confronts him as something hostile and alien” (Marx EL: 72). Marx also asserted that the key to Capitalism is finding new ways to exploit the working class. On the other hand, Weber distinguished between past and present societies by the pre-modern society and modern society. The fundamental difference between these societies would be the type of domination that prevails in each society. Each society attempts to establish the legitimacy of domination. Pre-modern society was dominated by the traditional rule that is “based on the belief in the sanctity of orders and powers of rule which have existed since time immemorial” (Weber LR: 135). This authority is based on the belief that the tradition is right. People follow the rules because it has always been the rules. Additionally, modern society was dominated by the legal rule that is based on “enactment”. This rule proclaims “its fundamental idea is that any law can be created and any existing law can be changed by enactment that is decided by formally correct procedure” (Weber LR: 133). This authority is based on the belief that people follow a system of rules and respect the rules. On the other hand, Emile Durkheim described the difference between past and present societies by simple and complex societies. Durkheim observed simple (primitive) societies in tribes. Durkheim noticed that everyone is basically the same in the tribes. No one possesses individuality and there is no division of labor. They all have the same job, religion, or beliefs. In complex (modern) societies, everyone is different. Everyone has a specific task but rely on each other for everything to work properly. Moreover, Marx explained the historical transition from the former to the latter by his concept of historical materialism. This concept illustrates the change from one society to another. Marx defined historical materialism as “history is the revolutionary succession of different modes of production and their main class divisions” (Marx Lecture: 4). In other words, all history has been the result of class struggles. The motivating force of all historical developments has been the struggles of the exploited and exploiting. Thus, this hostility will cause proletariats to lead a revolution. Ultimately, Marx claimed that a revolution was the only way to eliminate alienation, exploitation, and class conflict which will propel history forward into a socialist and then communist society. Moreover, Weber explained the historical transition by the process of rationalization. Weber asserted that rationalization slowly develops as technological proficiency overthrows traditional beliefs. The emergence of rationality and efficiency results in a highly bureaucratized modern society. Moreover, Durkheim explained the historical transition from past to present through a “deterministic model of history” (Durkheim Lecture: 12). This historical transition follows a “universal pattern by necessity” (Durkheim Lecture; 12). Durkheim asserted that society was evolving from a simple state to a more complex one. Durkheim demonstrated this historical transition with solidarity in society. Durkheim argued that solidarity is what keeps society together and what ties the individual to the society. Mechanical solidarity is distinguished as the simple (primitive) society that is held together by sameness among people. The source of mechanical solidarity is collective consciousness which integrates people based on common beliefs and morality. The most visible symbol of mechanical solidarity is repressive law. This law imposes some type of damage on the perpetrator. Repressive law creates collective consciousness by creating a sense of group identity. It reinforces shared morality in the community and unity which results in solidarity in the community. Furthermore, Durkheim asserted that the transition from simple to complex societies derives from the development of division of labor. Initially, the division of labor itself generates organic solidarity for the complex (modern) societies. In this society, people are different and solidarity is produced by the interdependence people have with each other. In other words, everyone has a specialized task in the division of labor but still heavily rely on each other. The visible symbol of organic solidarity would be restitutive law. This law helps restore balance in a system. Additionally, Marx asserted that the relation between individual and society changed through this historical transformation by fluctuations of autonomy. As capitalism develops, the specialized division of labor contradicts with the individual’s freedom. However, Marx asserted that in order to overthrow the bourgeoisie, the working class has to realize they are one class and acknowledge they have shared interests. In other words, the working class has to collectively come together in order to overthrow capitalism and acquire personal freedom in society. Moreover, Weber proclaimed that the relation between individual and society changed through the historical transformation in regards to the individuals autonomy. Weber acknowledges that bureaucracy has “precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge of files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, and reduction of friction” (Weber B: 247). However, weber concluded that bureaucracy was very impersonal. He saw it as a threat to individual freedom. This advancing bureaucratization in prisons individuals into the “iron cage” that is based on rational calculation and efficiency. Overall, Durkheim asserted that the relation between individual and society changed through this historical transformation on the bases that individuals become more autonomous and socially integrated while also depended heavily on society. Unlike other theorists, Durkheim argued that a highly-specialized modern society does not lead to disintegration. However, it actually arranges a new solidarity based on interdependence. Moreover, Marx proclaimed that his prediction for the future would be a communist society. This society would have publicly owned property and each person is paid according to their abilities. Communism gives freedom to the individual to “fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd, or critic” (Marx GI: 160). Marx believed that communism is the perfect society and no further improvement is needed. All in all, communism is Marx’s utopia and history has ended. Furthermore, Weber predicted further bureaucratization in the future. He asserted that increasing rationalization is inevitable. Overall, Weber concluded that “bureaucracy develops the more perfectly, the more it is dehumanized” (Weber B: 249). The more rationalized a society becomes the more it eliminates inmate and emotional elements of society. Overall, Durkheim proposed a quite different outlook for the future than the other theorists. Marx asserted that the division of labor created hostility, alienation and an ultimate revolution. However, Durkheim asserted that the division of labor helped create solidarity and stability to society as a way to move history forward. The laws for solidarity helped the system from collapsing. Durkheim proclaimed that all social problems could be resolved by laws.