Throughout history, religious values and groups have had a dramatic influence in human societies. In this respect, it is important to consider the social-political role of a number of religious organizations like Christian churches in places like Europe. Without a doubt, Christianity has been the religious faith that has had the biggest influence in Europe throughout history. What started as a social movement that had its roots in Judaism (Marshall, 1994), became the most significant religious group in Europe. Religion has had an important social influence, particularly through the role of Christian institutions like the monasteries which had a very significant influence in European culture, through their role as educational institutions (Marshall, 1994).
Politically, Christendom had also a notable influence in Europe. During the Middle Ages, for instance, the church intended to increase its influence, and saw itself forced to engage in three decades of struggle for supremacy (Finer, 1991: 22), against what became known as the Holy Roman Empire (Evans 1991: 273). Throughout history; Christian churches experienced two divisions. First divided Christians into Orthodox and Roman Catholic; while the second separated the remaining Roman Catholic group into Protestant and Catholic churches. This divided Europe in two types of societies, South European, predominantly Catholic with the exception of Greece, and North European, in which Protestantism has a strong influence. To some extent this division exists today too (Dunphy, 1995).
[...] in association with the University of Warwick. Offe, C. and S. Fuchs (2002) ‘A Decline of Social Capital?: The German Case', in Putnam, R. D. (ed.) (2002) “Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society”. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc. Putnam, R. D. (2001) “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and the Revival of American Community”. New York : Touchstone (published by Simon & Schuster Inc.). Turner, B. S. (1983) “Religion and Social Theory”. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. [...]
[...] Some of these campaigns are in favour of the restriction of the number of situations in which women are allowed to abort in Europe. Campaigns of the most extremist Christian groups also intend to make abortion illegal. Numerous Protestant groups in Norway and other Scandinavian countries are opposed to “certain directions taken by modernization, particularly abortion” (Crouch, 2000: 93). On the other hand, other Protestant churches like the Church of England or the Methodist Church (Watton, 1999) allow abortion in particular situations. [...]
[...] Even though a number of socio-political commentators like Durkheim and Offe and Fuchs (2002) once argued that religious systems can have a very significant positive role in human societies, building a sense of community and providing a sense of belonging to people all over the world, religion still works as the instrument that separates human beings from each other, in many occasions generating conflict, like those that are taking place in Israel and Palestine (www.ifamericansknew.org). In addition, religious fanaticism has gained in significance during recent decades, with a number of extremist organizations spreading terror all over the world. BIBLIOGRAPHY Allievi, S. (1997) ‘Muslim Minorities in Italy and their Image in Italian Media', in Vertovec, S. and C. Peach (eds.), (1997) “Islam in Europe: The Politics of Religion and Community”. London: Macmillan Press Ltd. in association with the University of Warwick. [...]
[...] In Marx's opinion, religion impeded social change. Weber's studies about religions like Confucianism or Buddhism also identify religion as an obstacle for social change, since they impeded the assimilation of a fully capitalistic system in Asia. Marx's ideas differed substantially from Weber's theses. While Weber saw religious faith as the generator of rationality in Europe, Marx established that religious faith had only one purpose: to make the individual believe that human beings will be rewarded for their suffering. This way religion tried to persuade people into believing that the injustices they may suffer will be rewarded after death. [...]
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