Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Is totemism a religion? Essay
Defining what constitutes a organized religion is a difficult, if non an impossible quest. However, originally determining whether or not indisputable stamp-systems and/or ritualized practices lowlife be considered a religion, a definition is imperative. For our purposes, I am going to use the extremely childlike definition from Websters New vocabulary , A system of faith and faith. In The Elementary Forms of Religion, Emile Durkheim, a French Sociologist from the nineteenth Century, examines totemism in an effort to draw universals surrounded by all religions. Durkheim sets his focus on Australian totemism, be run it is the just about pristine culture with the just about resources available. From Durkheims military position, the basis of totemism is to pass water stable societal bonds.Totemic tribes argon mixed into circles whose unity results not from chemical attraction, besides from the spectral relationship between the members. From Durkheims perspective, th e totemism in this culture is found on the taboo relationships developed by the clans members in addition to some totemic unit, which is ordinarily a plant or savages species common to the argona. If an entire society is based around its inviolable ritualized practices, it is save if sporty to consider those ritualized depressions and practices as constituting a religion. Thus, the original inquiry is, can a society whose church property is based on kinship, and whose creative thinker of sacred lies only in the ties inside the clan and not on a god or gods of some sieve be considered a religion? The perform to this question is yes.Although totemic practices may not be familiar to legion(predicate) Westerners, when true speculation is given to respective(a) totemic religions, it is easy to see the complexity that underlies m whatever forms of totemism. In addition, when looking at the religions that ar common to us Westerners, can we rattling argue that our commo n religions argon often logical than theirs? Through the totemic principles of the universe, and the worshiping of idols, however if these idols do not re fork over G-ds, it proves that totemism is around certainly a religion.Durkeim uses totemism as a basis from which answers to our lingering questions about modernistic religions can be drawn. In our eyes, the question whether totemism has been more than or less universal or not, is quite secondary. If it interests us, it does so forrader all be yard in engageing it we look forward to to discover relations of a constitution to make us understand die what religion is( Durkheim, 176). Durkheim is using totemism as the programme from whichall early(a) religions shall be comp bed to get ahead new and provoking ideas about religion.Durkheim debates totemism contains manifest phantasmal qualities, til now with the lack of a god or gods. Finally, that which we propose to study in this work is the most(prenominal) primi tive and straightforward religion which it is possible to image ( Durkheim 176). Durkheim clearly considers totemism a valid although simple religion. Of course, this is only the opinion of unrivalled, we must take into totemic rituals and beliefs before it can be proven that totemism is just as much of a religion as any former(a).Before arguing the attributes of totemism that allow it to be classified as a religion, a more thorough apprehension of divers(a) totemic practices and the principles and beliefs laughingstock those practices is necessary. The first and most prominent precedent that will be apply to happen upon totemism, will be from the diverse Australian tribes described by Durkheim. The critical belief in Australian totemism, is the belief that the totemic entity, whatever it may be, is sacred. The entity is thought to land sacredness on whatever carries its mark. The totemic entity is utilise to mark various butts much(prenominal) as stones, sticks, woo d, etc. in various rituals. The totem is in point a design which corresponds to the communicative emblems of civilized nations, and each person is legitimate to bear it as proof of the identicalness of the family to which it belongs ( Durkheim 180).It is true that we give symbols and emblems that represent our society, which we reckon sacred. Is that notion really so unsophisticated? Many patriotic Americans would be pique by the burning of the American flag, which is only an inanimate object to which we grant sacredness. This, however, is a nation and not a religion, but it is additionally quite common in umpteen religions to revere objects. In Judeo- rescuerian religions, sacredness is assigned to a book, the ledger, among numerous other symbols from the Jewish Star to the Christian Cross.If the watchword is dropped or thrown down in many religions, it is seen as a draw offense to G-d, and one must candy kiss the book to compensate. Notice, in like manner the droppi ng of the o in G-d. To many religious Jews even off writing the name God is considered passing offensive. Assigning value to an object is a common trait across many religions, the difference is that the symbols used in totemism ar not a representation for an positive god.Although the totemic emblem is not deputy of a god that bears charitable-like qualities, it is contained sacred and thereof must be some miscellanea of a representation of higher forces as opposed to higher beings. Totemic emblems are not only found on trees, in houses, on wood, etc, but likewise on the bodies of humans ( Durkheim 181). Whether they are marked on a body through with(predicate) mutilation, scarring, and tattooing, or whether the totems is represented on jewellery and on clothing, the adornment of totems on humans is until now another indication of its sacred value. These totemic decorations enable us to see that the totem is not merely a name and an emblem.It is in the course of the rel igious ceremonies that they are utilise they are part of the liturgy so while the totem is a collective label, it also has a religious slip. In fact, it is in connection with it, that things are classified as sacred or misuse. It is the very grammatical case of sacred thing (Durkheim 183). Sacred is used to mean the things that are unworldly which cause humans to revere while profane is simply worldly matter. Once again, the subsidization of so much value that one deems it sacred is evidence of religious qualities. excursus from the actual totemic emblem, there are other objects used in worship which are also considered sacred. The Arunta in particular, a tribe in Central Australia, uses an object called a churinga which is literally pieces of wood or polished stone, with the totemic entity marked upon it. each(prenominal) congregation has a number of various churingas which sometimes bare a whole at one force out where a waver made of human or opossum hair goes through. Th e thread allows the churinga to, when suspended, whirl into the air producing a sing noise which Durkheim compares to the toys of children ( Durkheim, 183, 119). These objects accompany rituals of any immenseness but also have a direct effect on the sacred and profane. The actual word churinga translates to mean sacred, and women, children, and schoolboyish men who have not even so been initiated are not granted entrance fee to these instruments of piety.Having access to these instruments could be considered positive and negative. genuine churingas could not to be handled or viewed at by profane persons when not in use. Sometimes they were placed in secret hiding locations where the sacred character of the churinga was so great that it communicates itself to the locality where they are stored ( Durkheim 184, 120). Additionally they had powers such as they could create courage andvigor in combat, bring around sickness, and ensure fertility of the totemic animal or plant etc ( Durkheim 184, 120). In all, the sacredness the clan placed on these object is more than apparent and indicates the religious qualities of totemism.It is crucial to mobilise that the objects chosen to represent totemic symbols are in no way link up to the actual symbol itself. The totem itself is not creating the religious feelinging, but is solely a manner to make tangible the religiousity that bonds a clan. In other words, totemism really has energy to do with the totem. Instead it is the accumulated experiences of the various social units that creates those intense feelings of bewilderment and worship that has caused religion to last throughout the ages. Durkheim rationalizes this by saying that most individual(a)s are compromising to authoritative figures in societies. In other words, people are inclined to conserve individuals who have earned some variediate of respect.Durkheim believes that in multitude environments, the authoritative individual has the capacity to make other individuals feel as though they are experiencing something that can not be see alone. volume usually are incapable of distinguishing the cause of the intense feelings they are undergoing. Thus, the individuals in such a setting assume that it is some otherworldly force that is the cause of their new spiritual experience. The source of whatever is make those feelings of intensity is what is deemed sacred. The sacred comes in different forms in all religions. In most religions sacredness is assigned to a god or gods. In totemism, it happens to be a totem which symbolizes the sacredness of the kinship in a clan.An interesting perspective that Durkheim holds is that in practice totemic religion in particular arose out of tribal life style. Individuals in tribal societies lived in groups too small to create the cause of religious forces recognized by Durkheim. They usually lived spread across vast landscapes. On various occasions social meetings would be held that may be considered large bounteous to be called a mass of people. In Durkheims opinion, gatherings of this sort would effervesce, meat that the spirituality that lies in the bonds of the group would build creating an even large sense of religious awe.The group environment would cause the essential doing of excitedbehaviors and heightened emotions that propel belief in the sacred. A continuation off the antecedent belief, is Durkheims notion that sacredness is contagious. Through these group gatherings, Durkheim argues that the sacred is passed on by federal agency of physical contact. This is proven through rituals that deem new things sacred when moved(p) by previous instruments considered sacred.This is also common in Judaism where the Torah, the first five books in the Bible considered very sacred to the Jews, is touched by all those worshipping in the temple as a way of passing on the sacredness of the Torah to the members of the congregation. Catholics feel drinking wine tha t is raise is equivalent to drinking the blood of Christ and thus feel they have reach a degree of sacredness through this ritual.Totemism is most certainly a religion, and bears all the qualities that many consider necessary before labeling something a religion. Durkheim used totemism to analyze the origins of religion in addition to the role religion plays in aiding people in understanding present society. It has been made transparent that Durkheim considered religion basically social viewing it from the eyes of a sociologist. In Durkheims mind, primal societies are where religion originated. He believed that although religion is only felt by individuals, it is an episode caused by a few factors. Due to the fact that religion is passed from generation to generation, the perspective that it is larger than any one person is created.The notion that it is larger than an individual allows individuals to become awe stricken by its seemingly evident power. In addition, in closed soci eties such as the ones which employ totemism, religion is universal, meaning that everyone has the same belief system. The collectiveness ensued through the belief system creates a unity and spiritual bonds among the members of the clans. Lastly, Durkheim believed that individuals in closed societies really have no other options but to believe in the religion taught to or experienced by them from an early age. Durkheim also touched on the fact that the forbidden and the dark play considerable roles in understanding the essence of religion. Because totemism possesses and even exemplifies Durkheims opinions of religion, in addition to standard definitions of religion, it is only decorous to label it as being one.