Emile Durkheim And Peter Berger's Four Existential Imperatives?

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Human beings have sought answers to major existential questions since the dawning of consciousness many centuries ago. Some of the most significant of these concerns are Peter Berger’s four existential imperatives: Who am I, why am I here, how should I live, and what happens when I die? These questions are extraordinarily intricate and unfathomably complex; therefore, try as we may, human beings have yet to determine the answers to these questions and discover for certain what exactly is our purpose here on earth. According to Dr. Mike, “Unlike their sisters and brothers over in the natural sciences, who have no problem pontificating on the big questions, sociologists wash their hands of them altogether, and instead of addressing religion as …show more content…
Both sociologists also “accept[s] that established religion legitimates the established order of society,” signifying the correlation between organized religion and societal order (Lundskow, 18). Durkheim founded functionalism and contends that the dominant religion in a society offers a “collective effervescence” which ingrains the idea of “divine order” into the minds of individuals within that society while, influencing their acceptance of the established social order (Lundskow, 9). He suggests that religion is a necessary aspect of a functioning society given its ability to guide people to regulate their behavior and live life according to perceivably correct standards. Religious ceremonies were of principal interest to Durkheim, and he insists that the performance of these rituals sustains nomos within societies and that this feeling of community and togetherness is a positive aspect of religion. He theorizes that “as religion loses its capacity to create existential meaning, people become anomic (without nomos),” and in addition, argues that religious conviction is no longer fortified in the minds of modern society, wherein “money and profit are the new Gods” (Lundskow, 9, 14). Although Durkheim expresses his opinion on the pivotal function of religion in society and its practical use as a means to institute societal or divine order, like the clear majority of …show more content…
Earlier in the course, we discussed Marx referring to religion as “the opium of the masses,” divulging its systematic utilization as a method for simultaneously controlling, suppressing, manipulating, subduing, and enslaving the minds of the masses (“Opium of the people” n.d.). The course textbooks notes, “Marx argues that oppressive religion teaches people how to bear their burdens in life, not how to overthrow them [..] maintain[ing] the established social order” that is created by and beneficial only to the people in power, especially within a capitalistic society (Lundskow, 18). Marx’s outlook on religion conveys a considerable influence from philosophical studies. From his standpoint, although religion is corrupt, it is still an institution able to offer sanctuary, purpose, and peace of mind in the form of “spiritual sustenance, something to make life worth living” (Lundskow, 19). Contrastingly, he argues revolutionary, or unorthodox religion “legitimates challenging, changing, or replacing the established social order when it no longer serves the interests of the people”: an institution that is “by the people and for the people” (Lundskow, 18). Nevertheless, each type of religion Marx speaks upon centres around either the maintenance or upheaval of societal order, rather than scrutinizing its substantive core. Like Durkheim,

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