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Dr. Fairen - Religious Studies Theories and Methods 13

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Religious Studies
Glen Fairen

RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200 EMILE DURKHEIM THE ELEMENTARY FORMS OF RELIGIOUS LIFE (1912) DIED IN 1917, just months after finding out that this son had been killed in WWI (had a stroke and went into deep depression, died young) in his time, the leading systems of thought looked at people as individuals, largely ignorant of the role of society. his take was radically different. he said society was far more important than the individual. THE SOCIAL EXERTED AS MUCH IF NOT MORE INFLUENCE THAN ANY REAL OBJECT YOU WOULD HOLD IN YOUR HAND. when we ignore the imprint of the social and just focus on the individual, we radically misunderstand what is going on. cf bruce lincoln's thesis on method #10 futile to think of people only as individuals, even biologically our social context is far more significant and has far more impact on our being social as "real" and external to the individual SUI GENERIS THIS FACT NEEDS EXPLORING "SCIENTIFICALLY" we can't think outside the box because we are the box folks have criticized durkheim for taking free will away from people it stood to reason that if such real social facts surrounded us there must be a scientific way to study them DURKHEIM ON RELIGION HE IS LOOKING FOR THE ESSENTIAL STUFF THAT MAKES UP RELIGION, THE ELEMENTARY BITS. he believed he could find these in "primitive" or "simple" cultures. HE MAKES NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL. RELIGION IS DEFINED BY THE "SACRED" AND "PROFANE" moderns are heavily influenced by ASSUMPTIONS like NATURAL LAW and SCIENCE this means we draw a binary between the natural and supernatural. that is our own culture's categorization. they are by their very essence not of the same stuff in the natural world and therefore cannot be explained by science. MODERN RELIGION, BECAUSE OF ITS INDEBTEDNESS TO SCIENCE, REQUIRES THE SUPERNATURAL the so-called primitive folk were not interested in making these distinct
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