Among these issues was the issue of religion as to how religion would be incorporated in a society whose foundation rested on rationalism. Religion and religious institutions occupy an influential position in manipulating a society and its members. The sociological traditions of Marx, Weber and Durkheim view religion entirely differently, yet all of them agree that religion is an imperative part of a society. For Marxists, religion is a tool to rationalize and protect the class system, also to make certain the status quo of the dominant principles of the society.
Religion plays a major function in the beliefs and values that cover any society and thus operates to safeguard the present social order. The rich make large donations to the church which ultimately result in the beliefs of the church is shaped in the favor of the ruling-class. As a result the needs of the rich will be fulfilled and the class system would be preserved. Furthermore, religion also assists in preserving the current social order by making life more tolerable, and by rationalizing the class system. Because of religion, individuals accept the present situation and look forward to joy and escape they will get after death.
Like, Marx, Durkheim, thought that religion was self-created by the individuals of the society. Durkheim suggested that religion results in serving numerous functions for the individuals, society and social relationships. Religion works as a foundation of solidarity and identification for the individuals of a society. It gives a meaning for life, offers influential figures, and most notably, strengthens the morals and social norms held within a society. It brings individuals together both physically emotionally through gathering. It provides stability to a changing world. It gives social control, cohesion, and reason for people, also another way of communication and meeting for people to cooperate and reaffirm social norms. Durkheim also recognized the meaning of rituals or rites in all religions. Durkheim suggested that at the back all of the religious activities is the power of society.
Like Durkheim, Weber perceives the modern society embedded in the concept of religion. On the other hand, like Marx, Weber perceives the motivating force of history as material interests and not ideologies, as originated in religious beliefs. According to Weber, religion offers the instruments for both steadiness and social transformation. A variety of trends are observed in the development of this process. Initially, he illustrates the significance of magical beliefs for explaining the effectiveness of actions. These magical beliefs then turn into symbolic representation which then results in conception of gods. As the symbol systems and gods became rooted into the community, and as political systems established, the gods came to signify those political communities.
The conception and preservation of these symbols and gods resulted in priesthood whose role in society was to uphold these symbol systems and generate rational systems of thought to fit together the symbols and gods. The priesthood ultimately resulted in the establishment of laws and ethical standards. Then came the prophets, who were to spread a new doctrine to displace the old system, hence correcting these injustices. Weber then explained the system of