Functionalism, Conflict Theory, And Symbiotic Interaction Essay

857 Words Mar 3rd, 2016 4 Pages
Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Symbiotic Interaction


The functionalist theory states that all social institutions exist to keep society functioning (Conely, 2015). Each social institution and process exists to serve a unique function to society, allowing it to continue running smoothly. This theory can be used to explain the strong prevalence religion has on society today. Before science gained popularity, people needed something to use to explain the then unexplainable phenomenon occurring in the world around them, so they used a higher power to explain them. Using functionalist thought, sociologists would say that religions exist in society to provide explanations for the unexplainable.

In today’s world, where less and less is unexplainable, a functionalist point of view might say that religion holds another purpose, or multiple purposes that allow society to function properly. Some might speculate that religion plays a role in forming relationships, so its greater purpose in society is to provide a sense of community and belonging. Others might speculate that religion gives people a sense of hope, in both the living word and life after death. And others might use it to explain day to day occurrences that occur despite statistical improbabilities.

By applying the functionalist theory to religion, one can see why people believe in things they can’t see, and the benefits believing in a greater power can have. For example, when someone gets into…

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