Stephen Matthews Stephen.Matthews at acu.edu.au
Tue Sep 29 09:57:34 AEST 2015

Steve Clarke, CSU Philosophy, CAPPE.

Title: Straight outta Durkheim: Haidt on Religious Belonging and Religious Belief

Where: ACU North Sydney campus, 8-20 Napier Street, Tenison Woods House Level 16.
When: 2.30pm-4pm, Friday October 2

The talk will be videoconferenced to:

Melbourne, St Patrick's Lv 7 (ROOM 703),  250 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne

Brisbane, McAuley AC.22

Strathfield, MSM VC Room (E2.45 Room)

Canberra, Signadou 110  Ballarat Aquinas 503.

In The Righteous Mind, Jon Haidt (2012) takes aim at 'new atheist' characterisations of religious psychology, which emphasise the importance of religious belief to religious psychology. He contrasts these with a 'Durkheimian' alternative that he favours, which stresses that religion has a function - the function of binding communities together- and which accords participation in communal activities, rather than religious belief,  the key role in strengthening communal bonds. I examine Durkheim's (1912) The Elementary Forms of Religious Life and argue that Durkheim had a more nuanced account of the interplay between religious belief, religious communal activity, and the strengthening of communal bonds, than Haidt recognizes. I argue that it is more convincing than Haidt's new Durkheimian alternative. I also consider the ability of the new atheist, new Durkheimian and original Durkheimian accounts of religious psychology to explain recent patterns of secularization. I argue that the original Durkheimian account is much better able to explain these patterns than either of its two more contemporary rivals.

Enquiries: stephen.matthews at acu.edu.au
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