Perspective of life and death

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Explanatory theories have one or more hypotheses on suicide. Durkheim theory has offered sociologists a conceptual outlook that links religion and suicide. According to Durkheim, deterioration of traditional norms and social organization accounted for the rising suicide rate in the 19th century (Pyysiinen, 2010). However, the Durkheimian theory fails to explain how the social structure influenced and changed religion role’s in people’s lives (Pyysiinen, 2010). The network theory tackles the issue as the fundamental shifts in the social organization do alter the basis for network formation. The medieval society had systems of concentric circles based on psychological and geographical factors. In the late 19th century, urbanization, western culture, migration, and industrialization were the basis of the network formation that was based on individual interests (Torgler & Schaltegger, 2012). The systems offered people greater freedom but led to less emotional support resulting in more psychological tensions. The society was then facing disintegrating network ties. These people were denied both the regulative and integrative support resulting to more suicides. Catholicism came in with a network of hospitals, schools and so on to provide a base for network affiliation. As a result, religion came as a source of guidance and solace to the society (Torgler & Schaltegger, 2012).

Suicide is an individual act caused by important links to social factors. Durkheim wanted to find social links that influenced high or low suicide rates. He studied beliefs, traditions, norms and values to understand the social factors affecting the rate of suicide. Durkheim concluded that though suicide is an individual act, there is a connection between the social life and the individual. The theory has been helpful in the society as it points out the importance of cohesiveness in the society. A person’s standing in the society, especially religious, occupations and social groups are crucial in the issue of suicide. Durkheim identified four types of suicide. The first one was egoistic suicide that occurs when social integration is weak. The social group does not adequately support the individual. The second is altruistic suicide that takes place when social inclusion is high (Thomas, 2014). The person is deeply committed to a team and neglects their goals and needs. The third is anomic suicide related to a small degree of regulation. It occurs at the time one is experiencing stress or change. The final type is fatalistic suicide that occurs when one is under tight control (Thomas, 2014). Persons in this group lose their sense of self due to living under extreme rules. From the explanation, one understands that life is a process full of readjustments and adjustments. The social organism is continually under change (Thomas, 2014). In that sense, the various parts of the society must adjust appropriately to the changing conditions to avoid disequilibrium.

Burial and funeral rites mostly shape the attitude towards death. It includes mourning the dead, and the spiritual care that the bereaved receive. The religious thought of dying and suffering constitutes the religious aspect of people experiencing dying (Thomas, 2014). The society finds it difficult to deal with death because most cultures view it as a taboo. The society dictates the initial model of attitudes and beliefs regarding death. Further, various religious, ethnic and philosophical groups refine and determine the range of response, feelings, rituals and behaviors (Thomas, 2014). Most people have difficulty dealing with death because they have made it a foreign experience. For example, Christians believe when one dies, they go to heaven. Nonetheless, there is sadness at the funeral as they will miss the dead.

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  1. Pyysiinen, I. (2010). Religion, Economy, and Cooperation. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
  2. Thomas, J. H. (2014). Theology and issues of life and death. Cambridge: James Clarke.
  3. Torgler, B. & Schaltegger A., C. (2012). Suicide and Religion: New Evidence on The Differences between Protestantism and Catholicicm. Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts.
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