Category: Dissertation examples,
Words: 1685 | Published: 03.31.20 | Views: 277 | Download now

Literature, Religion


This daily news examines the works of Sigmund Freud and Emile Durkheim upon religion, taking a look at how equally theorists essentially viewed religion as serving an integral part in individual culture. Particularly, this article considers just how both theorist consider religious believers being mistaken in their ontological beliefs, and the realistic causes for this.


When both Sigmund Freud and Emile Durkheim are concerned with all the study of human behavior as it relates to culture, each does and so from within specific traditions.

With regards to religion, Freud’s approach is one of the psychological custom, while Durkheim puts forwards a sociological approach. Inside the Freudian watch, human behaviour is largely powered by inborn and intangible “drives, working in the unconscious. Such phenomena are not directly observable, that is, they are nonempirical, they must subsequently be inferred, and as such are conjectural. Durkheim’s sociological approach, on the other hand, utilises direct empirical observations of social tendency (rites, traditions, customs, ou cetera), planning to account for the impetus at the rear of and aim of group actions. Hence Freud is concerned with obscure, intangible internal trends, whereas Durkheim is concerned with overt and tangible external phenomena. Obviously, the theoretical positions in question to a degree divide between internal and external motivations.

Different Routes to the Main of a Delusion

Durkheim posits a direct connection between environmental variables, the way groups connect to such parameters, and how this kind of interaction is definitely perceived simply by individual users of said group. There is also a mode of cyclical reflexivity in this active: this means people “living together in society generate guidelines which are felt by any individual member as working on him via outside, because having a push which this individual feels while both outstanding and constraining (Scharf 70, 151). This kind of force, Durkheim argues, is an externalisation of conventions peculiar towards the group, which might be perceived as exogenous but which can be in fact endogenous. This propensity to externalise, Durkheim advises, derives through the natural human desire to ascribe meaning to have, to seek a pattern inside the natural order. Thus, since Kunin says, religion similarly “is an externalisation of society as well as its order and speaks towards the “dialectic marriage between the person and society (2003, 82). Religion, in that case, provides for a great externalised object onto which will collective feeling can be projected, this is ultimately reflexive because the externalisation at main represents the people themselves. Consequently, to honor religious custom is not directly to honour the group. This is why intended for Durkheim religious experience provides to strengthen group cohesion and bonding.

Freud’s understanding of religion is somewhat pejorative. Connolly observes that Freud observed “the connection between abnormal psychological conditions and religion (1991, 146): which statement he widened upon in his study “Obsessive acts and Religious Practices (1907). As the paper’s title implies, Freud attracted a connection among psychological abnormality and spiritual practice, noting a similarity between “what are called obsessive acts in neurotics and people religious observances by means of that the faithful offer expression to their piety (17). In turn, Freud perceived faith, like neurosis, as systematic of deep-seated psychological concerns. In the words and phrases of Gallucci, “Freud saw religion as being a collective neurotic symptom, an obsessional neurosis (2001, 76). This “neurosis, according to psychoanalytic theory, comes about as being a defence device against thoughts of confusion which get in a fair cosmos. Consequently the need for a cosmic fatherly figure, who, being a parent luxuries the child, palliates the faith based subject with conciliatory ideas (about purpose, meaning, limitations, rewards, and thus on). This entire dynamic apparently comes from Oedipal stresses, where “each person grows up with a impression of foreboding toward a father figure who will be both dreaded and loved, this, it follows, “becomes the basis pertaining to the cosmic father figure, who also offers security and solution but in the meantime needs to be appeased by simply devotion and sacrifice (Clarke 2002, 43). In Freud’s mind, religious beliefs therefore produces a surrogate mother or father.

On the surface, Freud and Durkheim proffer two relatively quite different details for religion. Importantly, whilst these ideas are not overloaded complementary, neither are they mutually exclusive. Indeed, significant parallels might be drawn among each approach. For example , both equally both advocates argued that religion is an important factor in community cohesion (Scharf 1970, 155), both consent that “religion is central to any cultural analysis (Ginsburg and Pardes 2006, 220), and, hence, both keep that “that the intellectual roots of spiritual belief are to be found in sociable experience (Spiro 1987, 202). These similarities are significant and, moreover, point to 1 common determinant: that the fundamental basis of religious convictions are contrary to what believers assume. For Durkheim, the real power behind religious beliefs is social cohesion, pertaining to Freud, the impetus is usually psychological assuagement. In either case, sociable unity and mental wellbeing obtain, just for slightly different conceptual reasons.

From the above, one may possibly argue that Freud and Durkheim share significant overarching views on religion while holding markedly several structural viewpoints on how and why religion functions. Freud is concerned with psychological set ups, Durkheim with sociological structures. Freud is convinced religion works to system believers from your ultimate panic of a useless cosmos. Durkheim believes faith provides for a canvas where social tendency can be externalised and then re-accommodated as a great exogenous enterprise. Again, both equally modes of behaviour essentially work for the same goal: instilling a feeling of meaning in human your life. At this stage, one might consider the ways in which Freudian theory could compensate for shortfalls inside the work of Durkheim and vice versa.

As an example, Durkheim presents little in the way of early psychological developmental ideas, into the religious process, but there is no cause that early anxiety (of an Oedipal nature) wasn’t able to cohere with Durkheimian suggestions. Indeed, this kind of anxiety plus the consequent potential for neurosis can suggest an even greater need for group cohesion: as a means of reifying the misconception through general opinion, thus improving the anxiousness. Again, this may chime with Durkheim’s realizing that religion is usually “a specific system of philosophy and procedures relative to almost holy things [… ] which unite in one single meaningful community called a Church (cited in Gain 2010, 39). By the same token, Freud’s limitations may be get over with reference to a number of Durkheim’s observations. Scharf remarks a “weakness of Freudian theory in that it “does little to clarify [the] variety in rotules of parentage; consanguinity and fraternity within religious discourse, counseling that, right here, “Durkheim’s structural approach has more value (1970, 154). Appropriately we see that a synthesis of theoretical strategies may not be possible although highly helpful.


Freud and Durkheim take very different roads to attain more or less precisely the same destination. That is why, significant and consistent primary elements might be identified among their works. These include the fundamental belief that religion acts an explicable, material, sociable purpose which can be essentially exterior to biblical concerns, that religious believers are at base mistaken inside their beliefs (insomuch as these beliefs are attached to cosmic phenomena beyond the rationally explicable), that, it follows, religion is the reasonless articulation of an ultimately rational cause (anxiety or family behaviour), that religion can also work as a surrogate or output of mankind ” converted with work auspices, which, finally, religion is an important element of individual culture. Precisely what is fundamentally several in these two authors is usually their methodological priorities. Each man comes from a very distinctive tradition. Put simply, Freud and Durkheim had been engaged in different disciplines, because of this, their uses were directed differently

The key reason why Freud and Durkheim’s functions are in contrast at all would be that the realms in the sociological along with the emotional possess shared territory: the reasons of traditions. Both theorists have their limits. Durkheim may be accused of being over reductive and basic. Social framework may not be enough to be the cause of every aspect of faith. Psychological, intellectual and other inborn factors could also have a large part to learn. Freud, alternatively, may place too much onus on the unconscious drives in dictating religious experience. All things considered, religion is very varied and complex, it may be argued, to defy any kind of wholesale theory to explain it away. What, for example , can we make of made use of in which there is not any “father figure proper, or perhaps religions which usually proclaim no deity in allClearly you will discover unanswered inquiries on both sides of the church aisle. Perhaps a hybrid method that adopted a syncretic approach to study regarding religion may help answer these kinds of questions. After all, it seems to be the case that both Freud and Durkheim arrived at crucial insights into the social and psychological determinants that drive religion.


Clarke, L. J. (2002) Explaining Idea and Integrity. Cheltenham: Nelson Thomas.

Connolly, P. (1991) “Psychological Approaches. In: Connolly, P. impotence. Approaches to study regarding Religion. Ny: Continuum, pp. 135-193.

Durkheim, E. (1912). The Primary Forms of Spiritual Life. (J. Swain, Trans. ) New York: The Cost-free Press.

Freud, S. (1907) “Obsessive Serves and Faith based Practices. In: J Strachey (ed. and trans. ) Standard Model of the Total Psychological Performs of Sigmund Freud. Greater london: Hogarth Press.

Gain, M., 2010. Upon Durkheim’s Rules of Sociological Method (Routledge Revivals). New york city: Routledge.

Gallucci, G. Meters., 2001. Bandeja and Freud: Statesmen of the Soul. Phila.: Xlibris.

Ginsburg, R. , Pardes, T., 2006. New Perspectives upon Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. Tubingen: Niemeyer.

Kunin, S i9000. D., 2003. Religion: The Modern Theories. Edinburgh: Edinburgh College or university Press.

Scharf, B. L., 1970. “Durkheimian and Freudian Theories of Religion: The Case of Judaism, The British Record of Sociology, Vol. 21. 2 (June), pp. 151-163.

Spiro, Meters. E., 1987. Culture and Human Nature. Fresh Brunswick, NJ-NEW JERSEY: Transaction.

< Prev post Next post >