The theory that best describes the purpose and impact of religion in contemporary American society is functionalism. The strong belief that life is sacred that some of the Americans opposed to abortion uphold exemplifies the idea of functionalism that religion categorizes social life as either sacred or profane. The way the majority of Americans come together and seeks consolation from religion especially in times of catastrophe typifies the notion of functionalism that religion brings social solidarity. Functionalism also holds that religion provides answers to existential questions and this is evident in the way some Americans resort to religion to seek answers to how the world came into existence. Functionalism predicts that there reaches a time in a society when the influence of religion in a society reduces and this is manifest in America. In America, religion is increasingly losing influence being replaced by scientific thinking and this can be seen in the prohibition to teach religion in school and the ever-growing importance placed on science in schools. Functionalism also predicts that society reaches a point of civic religion which is seen in America’s patriotism that is more deeply-rooted in many Americans than religious convictions (Lundskow, 2008). In agreement with the argument of functionalism that when society interacts with many other societies its religious systems emphasize universalism, many religious groups in America teach universal values (Turner, 2010).
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