Durkheim- Protestants standing alone? – Blog #3

Coming from a Protestant background myself, I took great interest in Durkheim’s view of religion and suicide.  Surprisingly, Durkheim rejected both geographical and biological explanations in his study of religion and suicide. According to Durkheim, people of Protestant religion are more prone to committing suicide than Jews or Catholics.  This stems from strong social integration in Judaism and Catholicism while Protestants lack integration.  This stems from the Judaic and Catholic emphasis on community while Protestant has much focus on the individual.

Since I attend church weekly, I began to take note of all the individual emphasis in church.  I noticed a huge emphasis in seeking and figuring out God on your own individual time.  Also, the importance of coming to understand God individually not necessarily as a group.  While the importance of the collective church community was undeniable, there was still a lot of focus on the individual.

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One response to “Durkheim- Protestants standing alone? – Blog #3

  1. Interesting to see how your experience seems to support Durkheim’s understanding of Protestantism, of the social organization of the church. Again, Durkheim claims the critical difference between Protestantism and other Christian churches was the social relations of the faith. Whereas Catholics’ relationship with God was mediated by the priesthood and an elaborate church hierarchy, Protestants, as you note, are instructed to cultivate an individual relationship with God. Weber also picked up on this cultivation of individualism within Protestantism and described how it was expressed economically, in the early rise of capitalism.

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