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Recognizing the social origin of religion Durkheim argued that religion acted as a source of solidarity and identification for the individuals within a society Religion provided a meaning for life it provided authority figures and most importantly it reinforced the morals and social norms held collectively by all within a society Far from dismissing religion as simple fantasy despite its natural origin Durkheim saw it as a critical part of the social system Religion provides social control cohesion and purpose or people as well as other means of communication and gathering for individuals to interact and reaffirm social norms Durkheims second purpose was in identifying certain elements of religious beliefs that are common across different cultures A belief in a supernatural realm is not necessary or common among religions but the separation of different aspects of life physical things and certain behaviours into two categories the -sacred and the profane- is common It is this subject Durkheims view of the Sacred that will be the topic of this paper I will begin this essay by outlining some of the personal life of Durkheim himself and continue by discussing how Durkheim views what is sacred I will then focus on the origins of Catholicism and then discuss the seven Sacraments I will then conclude by tying Durkheims work and these principles together Emile Durkheim was born on April 15 1858 in Lorraine His mother was a merchants daughter and his father like the generations before him was a Rabbi Durkheims family moved to France and became French citizens but as a Jewish immigrant Durkheim always felt himself to be a somewhat negligible member of French society As a Jew in predominantly Catholic France Durkheim experienced prejudiced and oppression first hand Although he himself was an Atheist he understood the intense commitment of the Jews to their community and the power of Judaism as a social force The themes of this intense commitment together
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