Impact of Religion on Social Change

The sociology of religion asks: Under what conditions does religion have the greatest impact on society, and under what conditions is religion’s influence likely to inhibit or promote change change? The inequalities throughout history to modern time and institutions of oppression have stemmed from religious beliefs. Religion began with giving status to some while inadvertently creating levels of hierarchy, gender roles, and racial power dynamics. Ch. 7 of Mcguire’s “Social Context” conveys that religious organizations  have frequently vested interests in protecting their own alliance with dominant groups in political and economic spheres. Through religious belief the idea of the white supremacy has legitimized racism that is now imbedded in our institutions. Religious people supported colonization and imperialism which in the United States turned into legitimizing slavery. This has kept one power and privilege  to a certain group, while marginalizing others. 

Yet, religion can serve has a platform to create social change with their beliefs. In class we discussed that religion changes society when religious people act out of faith and moral sense of what it means to be human, paired with the social setting of the point in history. Out of all the pain the slaves endured during the slavery times in the US, the one thing they had was religion. As a result the civil rights stemmed from Black preachers in Black churches. MLK’s voice of a preacher made his speeches all that more powerful. Religions have the ability to organize hundreds if not thousands of people to have similar beliefs, and could influence change in society.