Religion’s Role

This week in class we talked about religion and its value to society by talking about the idea of religious cohesion. (Durkheim, McGuire, 196-197) A few hundred years ago, people didn’t need each other as much for things. People could do everything themselves and they were all alike so they didn’t really interact much. Society could not be held together this way. Religion, however, was the one thing that connected them and brought them together. (Durkheim, McGuire, 198) It made people feel like they were part of a group and a part of something bigger than themselves. (Durkheim, McGuire, 198) This made religion more important to society back then because it held society together. (Durkheim, McGuire, 198) However, at the same time, religion could also tear society apart. (McGuire, 215-216) Two groups who believed in two different religions often times fought over whose way was right. (McGuire, 215-216) Now in modern times, religion doesn’t play such a pivotal role in holding society together. (Durkheim, McGuire, 198) This is because people in general need each other more and interact more on their own now. This comes from the fact that there are more specialized jobs now and not everyone knows how to do everything. Hence, religion has somewhat declined in its value to society. However, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer important. Religion still brings people together and tears them apart. It can still give people a sense of unity, community and comfort through good times and bad. At the same time though, it can also still create violence and conflict among people.