Emile Durkheim's Theory Of Religion In The Modern World

1177 Words 5 Pages
If we look at the evolution of how religion is defined and the various theories in which it can be studied through sociology, it gives us insight as to how religion is still relevant in the modern world. Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) the French sociologist, defined religion as "a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden -- beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them (Christiano, Swatos, Kivisto, 2008). This perspective that Durkheim presents, differentiates between: does god exists to why does god exist in society. Exploring the functional aspect of religion itself. Durkheim saw religion as a necessity to …show more content…
Implementing methods such as questionnaires or surveys to compile statistics. As well as immersion, which is the ethnographic method of becoming a participant observer. The object of this type of study gives an in depth experience, allowing for both subject/object perspectives. These definitions and various methods are tools to devise theories of thought that are applied to the study of religion in society.
There are five prevalent theories that are implemented today. The first is called functionalism (1950-1970) derived by assimilating Durkheim’s definition, to assess how religion meets the needs of the people. Functionalism is based on the idea that society is working towards equilibrium. This theory objectively looks at social facts that exist in relation to institutions, in this case its
…show more content…
Church-sect theory is another sub theory in functionalism; a conceptual model that is a cross between both Weber 's and Marx 's ideas adapted by H. Richard Niebuhr, which proposes that the sect is an unstable type of religious organizations that eventually become a church. The other off shoot of functionalism is civil religion, influenced by Robert Bellah (1967), which essentially is the nation itself, through tradition and borrowed symbols are assimilated and evolve into its own religion. (Christiano, Swatos, Kivisto, 2008). Also within functionalism is rational choice theory (RTC) is a logical process in which someone would use to make choices. Eliminating options through personal preference so the sole responsibility of the choice rests with the individual and its completely 'rational ' based on their preferences, beliefs and constraints. But this has issues in relation to religious subject matter because of it 's subjective

Related Documents

Related Topics