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Jesus Christ And Functionalist And Conflict Theory

1786 words - 7 pages

Jesus Christ sought to improve the individual, the component of society, and as result, his teaching ideally aims to advance the well-being of society as a whole. The four Gospels and the book of Acts thoroughly demonstrate the extensive sociological knowledge that was present in Jesus’ teaching. His message facilitates personal reform, rather than change in the social structure alone. Although Jesus establishes the church as a social institution, he does so, only after a number of individuals become his followers.
Jesus teaches that society should be orderly. In order to understand his approach, one must first understand the functionalist theory. He conveys his message with a common language that is appropriate to the situation, thus implementing the symbolic-interaction theory. Although, according to the Christian Worldview, his message is truth, social conflicts existed because of class, religious background, and misunderstanding of long-term purposes in Jesus’ ministry on the part of the teachers of the Law, thus creating a link to the conflict theory.
Summary:
Jesus is arguably the greatest Sociologist who ever lived. His entire teaching is founded on two premises, which are outlined in Mark 12:29-31, “‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” By improving the relationship of man to God and man to man, Jesus inevitably strived to improve society itself. He was not aloof to the needs of people, as the gospels demonstrate by his more than 30 miracles, most of which deal with healing physical ailments. His care for people expresses his motive of improving society, person by person. He vigorously spoke out against lying, stealing, unfaithfulness, and, hypocrisy which altogether hurt the functioning of society.
Although one may claim Jesus was a strict functionalist, his focus was more on the divine order, expressed in unity, love, communion, and oneness, rather than a caste-like system. By eradicating the individual personal ills that damage society, Jesus helped increase the body of knowledge that promotes societal harmony. His main opposition was from the Pharisees, Sadducees, teachers of the Law of Moses, and the Chief Priests, who mistook his efforts of teaching the people as a threat to their prestigious social positions.
The class disparity is evident pervasively throughout the four gospels and Acts, a vivid example being the death of John the Baptist whom Herod beheaded. When John spoke out against Herod’s immoral behavior, Herod used his higher social position and authority to suppress John’s voice and as a result murdered him. John’s limited social mobility and high status consistency forced him to suffer the consequences of his actions, while Herod’s murder went unpunished by the Roman officials. Social position...

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