Digging Deeper: What Is Religion’s Role in Social Change and Same-Sex Marriage?


Sociologists study religion to understand the relationship between religion and society, and the role it plays in people’s lives. The sociological study of religion is focused on macro-level issues related to how religions impact social stratification systems or affect societal change, and micro-level issues related to how a person’s religious beliefs and practices shape individual and group life. Sociologists are interested in the social organization of religion, as opposed to theologians and philosophers who evaluate the validity of the beliefs.

Three early sociologists, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, contributed key ideas to our understanding of the role and function of religion in society. You will use their perspectives to respond to this week’s discussion question examining the relationship between religion and recent social change in society.


In addition to the information on the Exploration page, check out


  1. Then, in your post (minimum of 150 words) respond to the following questions:

    • What were the key religious arguments for and against same-sex marriage? Which groups strongly supported gay rights and which groups opposed them? What factors led to the fundamentalist revival in the U.S.? Did this resurgence impact the debate over same-sex marriage?
    • Using relevant ideas from Marx, explain how religion may have worked to prohibit same-sex marriage and equal rights for homosexuals. Touch on how the views of Marx are similar to and different from Durkheim and Weber when examining religion and social change.
  1. Support your ideas with information from at least two sources found in your readings and exploration materials, plus one outside resource. Cite your sources in APA Style. Need help with APA? Please refer to


  • Garcia, E. P. (2011). Academic tracking: Survival of the fittest (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Social Science Premium Collection, https://ccco.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ccco.idm.oclc.org/docview/921357882?accountid=171310 (Order No. 3496303)
  • HansLinde. (2016, January 19). [Untitled digital image of Gothic-style church]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/masonry-church-building-gothic-1795537/. Used under CC0 1.0.
  • Henslin, J. M. (2011). Essentials of sociology: A down-to-Earth approach (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
  • INTELECOM Intelligent Telecommunications. (2005). Episode: 117; part: 03 – way we live, the – in god we trust [Video file]. Retrieved from https://ccco.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ccco.idm.oclc.org/docview/1439121462?accountid=171310
  • Jarmoluk. (2013, May 25). [Untitled digital image of apple]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/apple-education-school-knowledge-256261/. Used under CC0 1.0.
  • Little, W. (2014). Introduction to sociology—1st Canadian edition. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology/. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
  • Pew Research Center. (2012, December 18). The global religious landscape. Retrieved from http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/
  • Rios, V. (2015, November). Help for kids the educational system ignores [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/victor_rios_help_for_kids_the_education_system_ignores. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
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