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psyproffie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Elementary Forms of Religious Life was published by French writer Emilie Durkheim in 1912 and focused on religion and it’s meaning to man at the most basic and primitive level.  The interest was looking at how religion helped man as a whole develop as an individual and as a society. 

As Durkheim was a functionalist he viewed the components of any religion more important as the whole. For example the rituals were just as important as the belief structure and the scared objects of the medieval ages were just as important as the religious text as they were viewed by the faithful as an extension of God.

In regards to predictions one of the main predictions was that as society modernized, made scientific and technological advances, that the importance of religion within those societies would diminish as the importance placed on the function of rituals and religious symbols would diminish (e.g. become superstition).  When looking at the state of today’s modern borders and political standings in areas such as Russia and the Middle East this can lead us to two conclusions. First that Durkheim was wrong and religion is still a driving force within society or second that not all societies involved in these political values are as equally as advanced.

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