Essay on The Elementary Forms Of Religious Life

Essay on The Elementary Forms Of Religious Life

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Analysis of
The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
Part III

Durkheim refers to “cult of the individual” as a new religion. According to Durkheim, the cult of the individual begins with a cooperative, shared vivacity. The first moments for the cult could be found in democratic revolutions that took place in Europe around the end of the 18th and 19th centuries. Durkheim described the French Revolution as the perfect example of a cult’s united momentum. Durkheim believed that religion is part of the human condition and as long as humans are grouped together, they will inevitably form some type of religion. Characterized as a state in transition, a new religion would emerge out of Europe. Individuals assume independence, gifted with wisdom, of which all are born with. The cult revolves around this idea. Every cult has two aspects; one negative and one positive according to Durkheim.
Durkheim described the negative cult as a whole set of rites that exist to bring about an important state of disconnection. Sacred beings are separate beings and are characterized by a confusion or misperception between them and profane beings. The sacred and profane are outside of each other. These special rites that prevent unwarranted mixing and contact of the two realms from intruding on each other are negative cults. The faithful to these negative cults are limited from certain ways of acting. These negative rites take the form of exclusion, or are referred to as taboo.
A positive cult according to Durkheim is an individual maintaining optimistic and mutual relations with the negative cult. Relations that are controlled and organized by a set of ceremonial repetitions. Individuals in the posi...

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...zation of society, the concept of “God” is not on the verge of extinction. Cults continue to rise up but always seem to fail in the end with a lot of confusion and non-believers. The idea of a supernatural power, which most of society recognizes as “God”, religion, better realized as a relationship, with God, is very acceptable to modern society.


Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious. Translation by Carol Cosman. OxFord World’s Classics, 2008.Print 's%20EFRL.doc

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