Religion: The Father Of Religion, By Emile Durkheim

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Emile Durkheim, regarded as the father of sociology, worked roughly during the same period of time as Tylor and Frazer. However, despite their timely similarities, Durkheim claims that humanity will not outgrow religion. Durkheim differs from Tylor and Frazer because he considers religion and science to have separate purposes for humanity. For this reason, he affirms that science will not be the force through which religion becomes outgrown. To explain, Durkheim suggests that unlike science, “[r]eligion’s true purpose is not intellectual, but social” (Pals: Nine Theories, 102). The social function of religion manifests itself as it “serves as the carrier of social sentiments providing symbols and rituals that enable people to express the deep…show more content…
The most critical difference they have is that Tylor and Frazer advocate for a substantive, intellectualist perspective while Durkheim pushes for a functionalist, reductionist approach to religion. Durkheim’s approach allows for the development of a scientifically observable explanation to prove his notion of religion as a social purpose. Durkheim’s observable proof is displayed through the practice of religious communal ceremonies and ritual practices such as Christian mass or Hindu celebration of Holi. To expand, both communal and independent expressions of religion such as praying or meditation, result in social cohesion because they provide a sense of what one is supposed to be doing as a member of a specific community. On the other hand, Tylor and Frazer merely create their own standards of evaluating religion’s purpose and effectiveness through their subjective interpretation of linear human progression. The point is that Durkheim’s evidence that religion’s purpose is social rather than intellectual is physically observable through religious ceremonies and rituals. Moreover, it can be suggested that these ceremonies are not performed for the purpose of intellectual advancement but rather social cohesion. If it was the case that religious ceremonies and rituals were performed with the intent to gain intellectual advancement, than it is unlikely that they would involve the entire community, perform customary practices or take place on formalistic dates. Further, Durkheim states, “[r]religious ideas can be discarded and changed, but religious rituals or something very much like them, must endure. Society cannot exist without ceremony; community requires religiosity” (Pals: Nine Theories, 105). Durkheim is accurate in this statement because without ceremony, a community cannot exist because there is no uniformity or collective
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