Post #2 Durkheim: Functionalist point of view on Religion

Durkheim holds the idea that one needs to view society as a living organism, meaning that every single creature (human) has a role to play and contribute; and if we don’t put our effort, society will fall or break apart.  In comparison with Marx, Durkheim believes that is harmony what structures society rather than conflict and he focuses on a division of labor rather than class struggle.   One of Durkheim’s arguments or studies is Religion, which I would like to develop as follow.

Religion is a unify system of beliefs relative to sacred things.  Durkheim was perhaps the first sociologist to recognize the importance of religion in human societies.  He saw its appeal for the individual, and more important he stressed the social function of religion.  Religion has social functions such as providing support or reinforcing social norms, and it also helps to integrate a diverse society; it is a source of integrity and unification because it is viewed as a collective act that includes many forms of behavior in which people interact with each other.  For instance, people through a particular religion or faith share the same statements to which they adhere (religious beliefs), and in this way they identify with one another; so they develop practices such as praying, chanting or singing to workshop a certain belief (religious rituals).

By this religious (faith) interaction, individuals express themselves through the shared belief, rituals and experiences, which constitute the components of any religion.  Faith permits for people to move forward in life because through it, we all (most of us) find a guide and reason to keep believing in life and its proposes; also because through faith we find sacred things that make us somehow go beyond the every day life (sacrifices, rituals, prayers), transforming the ordinary and commonplace (profane) into transcending events.

In the other hand, and under Marx’s prospective religion is also viewed as a potential obstacle to structural social change because it serves somehow to reinforce the social control of those in power.  This structural social change, tough, could be obtain trough liberation theology, which is the use of a church, primarily Catholic in a political effort to eliminate poverty, discrimination and other forms of injustice in a secular society, being this a discourage for political action that could end capitalist oppression and transform society.

This is the reason why religion creates problems and conflicts around the world, because it is taken not as a faith or something sacred, but instead as a political and cultural issue.  It is true that religion is also considered part of a culture in some places but Does it make one religion better than other?  And that is why we can’t live in peace in a society.  I don’t understand the term religion to begging with.  What is it?  Where is it written?  The word religion is not written in any holy book, that is a term that people invented to separate us as society; sadly, it has become a “political” issue to control money, power and to use faith, our faith, in some strange and cruel ways of discrimination and hate.

Some people believe what they have to believe in order to progress forgetting, like this,  their real values and purposes in life.      

Andrea Fajardo.


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