Religion has long been the subject of speculation and theory. The question of the origin of religion in the human race still remains one of the insoluble mysteries confronting the mind of man. Through this essay I will compare the views of two founding fathers of sociology, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber to see how their views on religion differ.
Max Weber's sociology is the basis of scientific sociology of religion in a sense of typological and objective understanding. Rejecting Karl Marx's evolutionary law of class society, or Emile Durkheim's sustained law of moral society, Weber established the understanding sociology of the subjective meaning of religious action or inaction. To build such knowledge of the understanding objective, he found the methodology of the idyllic type and the elective similarity of connecting relationships. Weber "elaborated a set of categories, such as types of prophecy, the idea of charisma (spiritual power), routinization, and other categories, which became tools to deal with the comparative material; he was thus the real founder of comparative sociology." 1 Weber holds that there is no universal law of society as supposed in natural science, or the law of history which determines the course of the dynamic mechanically. The goal of Weber's sociology of religion is to understand religious action from the subjective meaning of the actor rationally and also emphatically; it is not to establish the laws of religion and society, or to extract the essence of religious action. Or the goal is not even to formulate and evaluate the social function of religion as Marx did that religion was the opium of the mass or as Durkheim did that religion was what made moral society hold together. .
Typological and comparative understanding of religious action depends on the theoretical creation of the ideal type through thinking or empathic experiments. Objective understanding of religious action, on the other hand, depends on the value-judgment free investigation of the subjective meaning of social action from the perspective of ideas as well as material and mental interests.