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POP 502: Principles of Population Economy and Society

Assignment

Topic: Decline of religious control causing changes in family structure. Families are central to society and to our everyday lives. Families undertake the pivotal tasks of raising children and providing members with intimacy, affection, and companionship. However over the last few decades societies around the world are experiencing dramatic changes in family structure. By family structure we mean the form a family takes, such as nuclear family, extended family, single-parent family, stepfamily, and the like. The changes in family structure have taken place in various forms from traditional extended family to modern nuclear family and recently the postmodern single-parent family, singlehood stepfamilies, cohabitating heterosexual couples, gay and lesbian marriages and families. There are many reasons that fuel these changes like different economic, social, cultural factors. Decline of religious control is one of the most important reasons. Among all the social institutions family has the closest link with religion and it is reciprocal in nature. Religious values and institutions have influence on every aspects of family for example puberty, premarital sex, family formation (marriage, remarriage), its size, structure, relationship among family members, contraceptive usage, divorce, death. Almost everywhere, religion provides ritual support for family. On the other hand, the family is the first social institution where children get its training on religious beliefs and rituals. Thus religion shapes his/her attitude toward family and gender. But now the control of religion over family is declining and it is one of the major reasons of changing family structure. From religious perspective marriage is the only way to form family which is a sacred institution formed by rituals. By marriage a couple promises to be together in a lifelong relationship (until their death). These restrictions on family and marriage have some social and economic aspects. By making the family relationship sacred and lifelong society has ensured the upbringing of children by their parents. Man had a role to earn bread for the family the woman played the role to rear their children. But, rapidly changing social and economic context- industrialization, urbanization, masseducation, woman empowerment and innovation in communication technology has changed these social and economic and social functions of family. Over the last two centuries the household production economy has been slowly replaced by the family wage economy. The women have joined the labor force with the man; they have very inadequate time to socialize their children than past. Marriage is no more sacred religious commitment other than a civil contract. As a result the now the religious institutions and values have no more the significant effects on family life of societies like past. Moreover because of industrialization and urbanization people live and work outside households provide young people with opportunities for independence and freedom. As result
1 August 1, 2012

POP 502: Principles of Population Economy and Society

Assignment

individuals increasingly have interpreted their religious commitments and beliefs in individualistic terms. They are now looking to religion more for its personal meaning and less for its moral rules. This trend in the changes of religious commitment and meaning gives individuals more opportunity to choose new family structures. As a result of these, the power of the religious institutions over individual thought and behavior has declined. Consequently their ability to influence public opinion and governmental policy also declined. Though the role of religion as lawgiver has declined, but religious organizations can play an important supportive and helping role for individuals and their families. In recent years there has been a widespread recognition among religious groups of the need for programs and policies to strengthen family life. There has been a substantial growth in government and non-government programs designed to assist families, and some groups devote considerable effort to ensure maximum congruence between family and religious goals. But all these attempts recognize the changing structure of families in today's world and attempt to be responsive to the changed patterns of behavior. Of course, in future religious groups should be accommodative to these changes to sustain its influence over individual, family as well as society.

August 1, 2012