Religion As A Tool Of Oppression in South Africa

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What Is Religion, Oppression And Liberation

In this assignment we are going to discuss how religion can be used as a tool of oppression and liberation in the society. We are going to use South Africa as a unit of analysis. We will start by explaining what is religion, oppression and liberation.

Religion is eventually depending on belief in invisible beings, unheard voices, delicate entities and events and judgments that occur after we die. Religious people link to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute spiritual, divine or worthy of especial reverence. It is also often considered as consisting of the way people deal with ultimate concerns about their lives and their fate after death.

According to social theorist Emile Durkheim “defined religion as a unit system of beliefs and practices respective to sacred things”. According to Max Weber “he believed that religion could be a force for social change”. Religion can be many things depending on which religion one practices, but one thing stays the same across every religion is that it is all situate on faith. Religion want people who believe in it, to accept it regardless solid evidence. Oppression protract brutal treatment or exercise of authority. Liberation is the action of setting someone free from slavery. (Ferrante,J.2016.With Emphasis Apartheid African Traditional Religion, African lnstituted Churches and Islam.

There are many types of religions in South Africa in this assignment, we are talking about Christianity because is the most dominant religion in South Africa and also is relevant to us. Christianity is the main belief system in South Africa, with Protestantism, is the largest denomination. Non-Christian entities in the country include Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism. Even though the country delight itself on being a multi-dominion country, 15% of the people do not find themselves with any religion, the second largest group after the protestant Christians. The San group is still using African traditional religion up to today. The Dutch and the British come up with Christianity during the time when black people were exploited by white people. The belief is more common between the Whites and colored South Africans , is about 86%.

This are few examples of most important Christian belief systems in South Africa namely Protestant Christian is the primary belief system in south Africa with 36% of the total population. Hence, it is not popular in the black community who identify themselves with the Zion Christian faith. Since its introduction in 1652 by the settlers, the system has gained recognition and has many followers. Zion Christian faith is the religion of the black people in South Africa. The system is independent and indigenous taking a 23.7% of the black community and constitutes 11.1% of the whole population of the country. Today the church is against to the mainstream European churches, put together the feature of African traditions with the values of Christianity. Anglican Christian the church of England came to south Africa in the early 17th century. With the increasing power of colonialism the religion dominated as more British settled in the Cape Town. Today the church embrace the teachings embedded in the life and resurrection of Christ and 3.8% of the population in the country subscribe to this religion. Roman Catholic Christian is the key Catholicism in South Africa and 7.1% of the people in the country are beliefs of this religion. The belief system is common among the Zulu, Xhosa, and Sotho. Many white Catholics who are speaking English are the descendants of the Irish immigrants. The Calvinist Afrikaans is not so into the religion, and their population is almost not important.

How Does Religion Can Be Used As A Tool Of Oppression

We live in a free modern society and every individual in the society has his or her right to choose the religion and in what to believe. However, there are many situations when people do suffer from oppression from religion. That’s why in the assignment we are going to examine modern oppression because of religion. Religious oppression is experienced within high–demand faith group. The origin of religion is the need for control because God has no religion, and he gave none to Adam and Eve. They as first people were dealing directly with god without any interference. That was gods really plan, but we as human although we are giving power over everything else on earth it’s still not enough. We still seek to dominate and control fellow human beings, and the best way to achieve this dominance easily is to create pointless fear in other, and then attach to god’s name to it. Religion a tool of oppression. We all agree that fear is the main authority of oppression, and the spirit of fear is not from god. Yet, the name of god is the most effective because they use it to make people fear and keeping them in perpetual bondage. I just don’t get it I mean why would a god who love us so much now become the reason we should live our lives in oppressive fear under fellow people.

The whole thing is confusing to those who are incapable of thinking for themselves. Today in most churches 90% of their teaching are man- made beliefs. We cannot even differentiate religious from political power anymore they are one and the something. Power starved individuals are using religion as a defense for their inconsiderate and self- serving use of power especially in 1981, countries such as Nigeria for example where God of men pastors and imams do everything and anything to grab, grub and unleash dominance on the laity. In fact, some factions tend to use their position as a religion leader as a motivation factor for violence while other factions use their position as a business to make money. Religion a tool of oppression.We all agree that fear is the main authority of oppression and the spirit of fear is not from god. Yet the name of god is the most effective because they use it to make people fear and keeping them in perpetual bondage. I just don’t get it I mean why would a god who love us so much now become the reason why we should live our live.

Religion, like the state, can be a tool used by one class to suppress the other. Currently under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie religion is a tool used to justify the exploitation of workers for workers for capital gain. Religion is used as a tool to warn the proletariat of revolting and opposing exploitation. Religion as stated by Marx is the opiate of the masses, its painkiller. By that logic one will arrive at the conclusion that under a Dictatorship of the proletariat, religion can be used as a tool by the proletariat classes to suppress any bourgeoisie elements left within society. An example of how this could be is found in the bible. Jesus preached the idea of sharing to give to the poor warning us of the dangers of money and to “love thy neighbour”. Buddhism seeks to end the consumerist nature capitalism has embedded within human, and to change it.


In actual fact history swarms with examples of power starved governments and individuals using god, gods and religion as a mean justification for their thoughtless and self-aggrandizing use of political power. So then, is religions especially precisely the Christian faith, then, simply another scheme imposed upon the masses to keep them obedient to the law of the land, no matter how unfair the law may be to stop them retaliating? According to the bible, Hebrew 11:1 (Faith in action) “now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” if this passage is clearly and carefully looked at with the thought of it being used by the government or higher ruling classes as a tool of oppression.

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Religion As A Tool Of Oppression in South Africa. (2020, Nov 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/religion-as-a-tool-of-oppression-in-south-africa/

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