Durkheim also attached great importance to religion in the development of society. In all his works, he writes that religion is the only product of the development of society. By studying the history of the formation of religions, from primitive to bourgeois, he was able to prove that the real object of any religious cult can be considered a society. According to him, the main social functions of these cults are forming cohesion and presenting ideals that stimulate social development. Durkheim believed that religion profoundly affected the preservation of moral values and human formation, as well as the affirmation of positive solidarity. In support of this, he argued that society needs religion, and not a divine religion, but a social one.
Barton Swain, in many ways, follows Emile Durkheim in writing that religion can have an integrative function. It brings people together and improves their behavior – an example of this in the article is the reduction in the commission of offenses by migrants (Swain, 2021). However, not everyone will agree with this position, and the journalist is well aware of this. As happened with the analysis of the first article, a situation arises where people, particularly those in positions of power, are aware of the detrimental or conversely positive effects of a particular process. However, people simply give up due to how difficult it would be to change the current trend of society’s existence. It can be concluded that therein lies the similarity of the articles analyzed. Their difference is that Barton Swain has managed to present several positions on the same problem. On the other hand, Cohen chose to show arguments in defense of only one point of view. The analysis carried out thus raises the question of how effective philosophers are if, even when they are right, society cannot be changed.
Swain, B. (2021). ‘Why religion is good for American democracy’ review: Big Tent Revival. The Wall Street Journal.