This book is great! Seriously, it is a groundbreaking examination of the phenomenon of religion. Emile Durkheim really hits on a key aspect of religion and it's relationship to "society." That being said, I think Durkheim doesn't get the whole picture. He doesn't do justice to the ascetic ideal. Often times, religions people will have to leave society to find inspiration. For example, Zarathustra had to leave his city-state and climb the mountain, Jesus had to go into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, Mohammed had to hang out in a cave, Joseph Smith had to live in upstate New York :), The Buddha had to leave his kingdom and sit under a tree, and even Odin had to leave Valhalla in order to find Erda and learn the fate of the world. The list goes on and on, and spans most if not all, religious traditions. Yes, for many god is a metaphor for society. However, for a very vocal minority, namely prophets, mystics, visionaries, or whatever you want to call them, this isn't the complete picture. However, even for someone who has to leave society in order to find god, the relationship between god and society is difficult to escape.

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