A it is thus society which gives man the idea of an

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a. it is thus, society, which gives man the idea of an external, compelling power (e.g. God) though he is not aware of it -“The God of the clan, the totemic principle, must therefore be the clan itself, but the clan transfigured and imagined in the physical form of the plant or animal that serves as totem.” (208) -the nature of religion as a social creation- things are sacred when there is a moral consensus on their sacredness (we create what is sacred; anything can be sacred) -religions are collective representations, i.e. they are system of ideas by which people represent their society and the world to themselves
-but this society has been transfigured and idealized -Although metaphorical in nature, religious feeling [faith] is very real nonetheless, because its source [society] is very real -two types of ritesNegative Rites -separates the sacred from the profane -purpose is to detach oneself from the profane world and to purify the body/ soul -precedes the entry to the realm of the sacred -necessity of pain and suffering, mental and physical -examples in religion: fasts, prohibitions surrounding food/ sex -examples in civil life: the courts, sports, military Positive Rites -prepared by negative rites -rites of consecration, sacrifice, celebration -purpose is to affirm one’s relation with the realm of the sacred (communal ceremonies, exchange with sacred beings) -the social function of symbols and rites (Durkheim's functionalism)- functionalism: the relationship between society and collective representations (according to durkheim). In other words, when society creates religions / ideals (and in turn, symbols and rites), the symbols and rites serve the function of reinforcing society. Main function of religion: “to make us act, to help us live.” “There can be no societythat does not experience the needat regular intervals to maintain and strengthen the collective feelings and ideas that provide its coherence and its distinct individuality.”429 -function of symbols and rites is to create collective effervescenceamong people, to feel as if they are apart of something greater than their being “It is in those moments when the group is assembled and acting in common that it becomes conscious of itself (moments of collective effervescence). And it is when a society is conscious of itself that its ideals are formed and reaffirmed. “(421) -the social function of symbols is for all social groups to constitute themselves by producing the mental constructs (representations/symbols) that will sustain them *** symbols and rituals enable individual minds to commune and meet, even when the ground is absent**** connect to collective effervescence -symbols need to be periodically reasserted in order to persist; they are also needed to re-energize collective feelings -How religion evolves over time - dynamics of religious change
- over time, and as human encounters become more frequent and dense (organic solidarity), religions become more abstract, uniting people across the boundaries of their particular groups (428).

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