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The influence of religious organisations on community cohesion in diverse and deprived communities.

I'm currently conducting a research study (at the University of Manchester) about the role that religion plays in diverse and deprived communities. Specifically, I'm examining the ways in which it influences social cohesion. Thus, the overarching issue is whether religion has a positive or negative impact on the community? Can religious organisations bring people of difference not just together but also to appreciate, understand and value diversity?

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    Aug 1 2012: The only problem with religion is its brainwashing superstitious content.
    People gathering and sharing experiences has a positive impact on the community, no doubt.

    And about social cohesion : it's hard to do better than the Nazis or the Taliban. I mean that it helps when you're told you belong to a special kind, or when you have a common ennemy.
    • Aug 1 2012: My research findings thus far are closely aligned to your comments. It seems that the "successful" religious organisations - measured by their positive impact on social cohesion - are those which isolate the religious activities from the social/community activities. In a sense, these religious organisations are dualistic in their role, they are both a place of worship and a community hub. The place of worship facilities bonding, the community hub facilitated bridging.
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        Aug 1 2012: Surely a place of worship only facilitates bonding only of those of the same faith?
        And does forced genital mutilations, repressing women, calling homosexuals immoral/ evil, preaching against contraception and an unalterable claim to be infallible all count as things which count towards ruining communities or is that just society on a whole.
        And I'd add trying to force their religion into politics and into the lives of other people and ruining communities.
        • Aug 2 2012: What I've found thus far is that these religious organizations strongly promote bonding (interactions between people of similarity) and to varying degrees promote bridging (interactions between people of difference). Their bonding activities have a strong religious focus, the bridging activities are more social and community based (with religion, at times, totally removed).

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