Religion’s Impact on Social Change

My experience with religion has been one that rather than promote social change and modernity, it centered around traditional, I would call “outdated” values. I’m a person that has always wanted to create social change to better people’s lives, specifically those who have been marginalized. In our current day, we need people from all sides to unite under common ground to resist a fascist president. Ch. 7 of the “Social Context” delves into the impact of religion on social change and how while it has been used to maintain the status quo, it could also be an enormous vehicle to promote change.

Earlier in the book we learned the historical construct of religion and the power it gave some, while purposely denying power to others. McGuire speaks of one way that religion has been used to simply maintain traditional values is by reactionary movements that typically fight “modernity” and urge the cultural return to values and norms of an earlier, more “pure” era. This goal translates into crusades against equal rights for women, abortion, sex education in schools, gay rights, and other nontraditional family lifestyles (240). Simultaneously though, religion is a promoter of social change through its vision of how things might or ought to be (245). This is due to religion’s history in uniting people’s beliefs with their actions and their ideas with their social lives.

If more religions now a days could unite its people to fight against a common enemy, then social change could be a real possibility. People can have different political ideologies, but have the same faith and with that, we can find similarities amongst a multitude of differences.