Societal Functions of Religion According to Emile Durkheim and the Decline of Religion in the United States

Religion and Theology
Pages 2 (502 words)
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The reach of religion onto the different echelons and structures of a society depends on the influence it exerts on the members of that society.


The wealth that the U.S. has enjoyed over the past decades, the freedom of expression entrenched in the U.S. Constitution, and the acceptance of other religions into the American society have diluted the place of Christianity in the U.S. The decline of Christianity in the U.S. at the expense of other religions and secularism risks to threaten the American society if it fails to provide a compromise to people from other faiths or sharing other beliefs. Such risk exists because there could be clashes between people from different communities/ faiths (e.g. Northern Ireland). The situation, however, is not alarming because religion has been replaced in the U.S. by education and to some extent a sense of patriotism. To revert back to Emile Durkheim's theory of religion, patriotism, education, the "American dream", Hollywood, etc. now ensure some form of social cohesion in the U.S. through the sharing of common values. With regard to social control, the law enforcement system and the judiciary system are now recognized as legitimate institutions to deal with conflicts. In this modern U.S. society, religion has been relegated to the personal realm and people living in the U.S. now enjoy the freedom to choose the religion that will answer their existential thirst. ...
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