NAME : NYASHA B MAKIWA
PROGRAM :SOCIAL WORK
COURSE : HSW120
REG NO :R171038
LECTURER : SEMWAYO
DUE DATE :23 MARCH 2018
QUESTION :EXAMINE THE POSITIVE FUNCTIONS OF RELIGION AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL WORK PRACTISE IN ZIMBABWE
The assignment seeks to project the affirmative functions of religion and the implications for social work practise in Zimbabwe. Religion has positive functions on people’s lives and on the practise of social work in zimbabwe .the positivity side include giving meaning and purpose to life ,reinforcing social unity, agent of social control ,for physical and physocological well being and motivation and this all applies to functionalism theory. However basing on conflict theory religion also have its negative side which is reinforcing and promotion of inequality , social conflict leads to hostility and violence galvanised by religion differences. Social workers are therefore required to take a client’s whole self into consideration, should advocate for proper education and implementation of religious and spirituality interventions, learn client’s beliefs, and be and competent and to respect a client’s religion in order to provide good services to the service user and to be able to dwell, understand and solve client’s issues though they might face some challenges with regard to religion in their practise.
Asher (2001) defines religion as “a formal set of beliefs, doctrines, law, practises and assignment of authority which are linked to an explanation of the creation and governance of the universe”. Social work is the qualified movement of helping individuals, groups or communities to improve or reinstate their aptitude for social functioning and creating societal conditions positive to this goal. There is a strong bond between social work and religion since religion is the foundation of social work as projected by (zastro, 2010),”social work has its historical roots in religious organisation, social work originated under the inspiration of the Judaeo-Christian religious tradition…”.Martin (2003) proposed that the emergence of social work can be sketched back to the nineteenth century in Britain with the establishing of the Charity society organisation. In Zimbabwe development of social work is knotted to Zimbabwe’s colonial past. Therefore religion cannot be given a deaf ear in social work practise, social workers are encouraged to be religious so as to execute their duties wisely.
Religion is of great importance as it is a tool for social control. In relation to social control issue a social worker should be culturally competent and appreciate from the commencement that socio-economic circumstantial of the clients is moulded by where they come from and their beliefs and somehow its part of culture. According to NASW (2001) cultural competence in social work is a lifelong, on-going process and includes the importance of religion and spirituality. In case of social control one can point out to the issue of a client who is a drunkard and belongs to Rastafarianism group and is an alcoholic addict. It might not be the path that person really wanted to choose but was influenced by the culture and the people surrounding him. There is need for a social worker to respect this person’s religion and culture and should be non-judgemental concerning him being part of it. A social worker through religion can then play the counselling role enlightening the person about his body being the temple of God and that each person should not abuse it and can even use the bible verse which talks of Jesus acceptance of everyone (mark 2:15-17).As a social worker he or she can even educate the person on the after effects of alcohol. The client after this religious counselling can recollect with himself and quit alcohol and thus shows the importance of religion on controlling behaviour and on the practise of social work. Therefore a social worker is expected to have greater appreciation of diversity in religious matters so as to be able to listen to matters of the spirit during service providing to clients as emphasised by (Canda, 2005).
Moreover, the significance of religion in people’s lives is that it gives hope, meaning and purpose to life. A social worker can use religion to restore hope to those at the verge of losing hope .For instance a teenager who has been impregnated and the pregnant has been denied by the owner can think of abortion or even suicide due to thoughts of being no one or facing challenges of taking care of the baby. A social worker can use religion to boost the service user’s copying mechanism. He can do this by revealing the worthy of the baby which is in line with the Christian value that is of human beings being in God’s own image (genesis 1:26).The commandment of not killing can be of great help to a social worker .One might point out that this can result in an ethical dilemma whereby the social worker is a person who holds a certain religious or moral values about abortion and at the same time he is expected to keep the principle of determination. The Christian values used by the social worker can help the teenager have hope and the courage to move on with life. This can be supported by (Rosmarin and Pargament, 2010) who reveals that religion improve positivity and hope among clients. Therefore one can be led to conclude that social workers should be well versed with religion as it helps one to be non-judgemental and to come up with strategies appropriate to deal with client’s issues. (Stander 1994) views religion as a vital source of ethical decision making which is important to social work practise.
Moreover religion is of great prominence when it comes to the physical and psychological welfare of a person as it fosters recovery from trauma. Social workers in Zimbabwe can use religion to drag a person out of distress. For example, the issue of a client who might have lost the whole family due to an aeroplane crush. In this case a social worker is supposed to assess the client’s religion background and the level of interest in using religion. Through the use of religious views basing on the clients belief, a social worker strengthens the ability of the client to copy up with the predicament as (hodge,2011) notes that religion and spirituality is recognised as a client’s strength that can aid a client’s well-being. This also reveals the aim of social workers that is to enhance the well-being of individuals and to help people so as for them to help themselves. Social workers are therefore are expected to be religious so as to be able to handle and assist their clients.
Furthermore, religion is important as it can be used for social unity whenever there is a misunderstanding or a quarrel between individuals. A social worker can make use of religion so as to restore the relationship between two or more people and in this case he can be said to have played the role of a mediator.Taking it might appear to be a challenge to a social wrker trying to respect such a decision from a client for example ,a young lady who might have quarrelled with her neighbour to thae extent of planning for a revenge.The custom of church strongly teaches that people should careand love one another.However in this case self determination is a central social work values with clients and it might appear to be a challenge to a social worker trying to respect such a decision from a client.A social worker can use the verse from the bible which teaches of loving your neighbour as one loves himself and pointing out that each and every person was created after God’s own image and reviewing that no one is perfect each person has his own wicknesses.A social worker is presented as a counsellor and a peace maker since a client might end up realising the bad side of her thought and re-unite with her neighbour.Social workers should therefre be be prepaired to identify and adress ethical dilemnas resulting from the relationship between professional and spiritual values as (Neagoe ,2013) notes that it would help a social worker in providing good services to a client.
However Karl Marx view of the rise of capitalisation in contemporary Zimbabwean shows that functionality of religion on the influence of economy can be viewed as negative because from Marx religion is seen as a source of “class ideology.” On the other hand, it can be noted that functionality of religion is sometimes based on selfishness especially in the rich as they want to continuously oppress the poor. According to Marx, religion is used by the rulers or the Bourgeoisie to justify its economic, political, and social advantages over the oppressed. He views religion as an expression of oppression and suffering of the poor by the ruling class. Conversely, he goes on to give a rather soothing side of it. Religion is reflected as a sigh of the oppressed, a sentiment of a heartless world and ‘opium of the people’. Despite these notions appearing divorced, they somehow act in a collaborative and complementary role in as far as the rise of Pentecostalism in Zimbabwe is concerned. To go against this way of life is to go against God’s plan thus proving that the functionality of religion is not only designed to benefit the society at large but mainly the rich so that they may continuously succeed while the poor will remain poorer. This source of class ideology is generated through the biblical term of master and servant which economically generate a negative relationship between the two resulting in corruption as a result of exploitation of workers. This then mark the influence of religion to be a discord to the economic cohesion of contemporary Zimbabwe.
To some up ,religion and social work practise has a great bond as religion is the foundation of social work practise.Inspiration to help others seem to have developed as part of religion.Religion restores the physical and psychological well being of individuals ,tool of social control and fosters unity. However religion promotes social inequality,socail conflict and leads to hostility. In social work practise ,social workers are thus supossed to deal with a client as a whole ,assess a client’s religious background ,the level of interest in using religious views ,social workers should advocate for proper education concerning religion,be culturally competent and to respect client’s religion so as to provide client with good services.nggh
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