Emile Durkheim Was A French Sociologist And Philosopher.

1003 WordsFeb 8, 20175 Pages
Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist and philosopher. One of his most prominent interests as a scholar was religion. In particular, the manner in which religion has developed throughout the history of the human race. While Durkheim wrote a good deal on religion, perhaps his most important work on religion was written in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. In this work, Durkheim examines Australian Totem religious as fundamental forms of the human religious experience. His ideas regarding religion are largely based off of his studies of Australian totemism. Durkheim used his studies of this particular religion to argue that religion is simply a worship of society in of itself. This is where Durkheim’s theories are at their most…show more content…
In an application to religion, the followers of the religion worship the best attributes of society that they want to see in themselves. I find this analysis of religion fascinating. Religion is the most complex human social behavior. There does not seem to be any real function to the worship of other worldly beings or some sore of supernatural force. Through Durkheim, I am able to understand the function of these behaviors. This is the most important and valuable aspect of Durkheim’s work. While many scholars had focussed on the individual function of religion, Durkheim looked to the true nature of religion as a societal act. Religion, in most cases, is a communal and social behavior that serves as a way to bring human beings together for what they believe to be a purpose greater than themselves. Durkheim is able to shed light on the purpose of these communal behaviors and the importance of them to the tribal nature of humanity. Durkheim’s viewed religion in terms of a separation of the sacred from otherwise normal, day to day occurrences or objects. This defining characteristic of religion by Durkheim helped me to understand religion from a more broad perspective. Durkheim writes that, “The real characteristic of religious phenomena is that they always suppose a bipartite division of the whole universe, known and knowable, into to classes which embrace all that exists, but which radically exclude each other”
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