Anomie V. The Church


The Whole. What is it?

Anomie V. The Church is an inside look on whether The Church (not necessarily religion) is a social structure that causes Anomie, or prevents it and how it does this.

The Point. Why bother understanding it?

“When a social system is in a state of anomie, common values and common meanings are no longer understood or accepted, and new values and meanings have not developed. According to Durkheim, such a society produces, in many of its members, psychological states characterized by a sense of futility, lack of purpose, and emotional emptiness and despair. Striving is considered useless, because there is no accepted definition of what is desirable.”

The Machine. Briefly describe the content depicted in your infographic.

The Church is a time-tested social structure that can cause a state of anomie or rescue one from it through its inclusion or exclusionary practices and beliefs.

Supportive Functions. What are the services that it generally exists for? What other institutions, social structures, and lifestyles does it support?

The Church is socially very powerful and has played its role in immeasurable amounts of social changes throughout history. It provides a safe haven for those who feel the need for something greater then themselves, it delivers hope, and offers love peace and tranquility. 

Antagonistic Functions. What other institutions, social structures, and lifestyles does it create problems for?

The church however in its many pros also offers the second side of a coin. It can be slow progressing and not adapt with the society, and because of possible outdated values can hurt those who need the hope and shelter it offers. however progressiveness within the church can do the same thing. hurting more people than its helping.

Historical Cultural Conditions. Why did this social form come about when it did? What historical cultural conditions made it possible?

The church is as old as man and takes many forms and holds a wide variety of values and beliefs. A belief in the supernatural, a higher deity has caused those apart of the church structure to keep growing. It’s a very large social structure with similar minded people who combine into their own group within a society.


(Principle #1)—The Church: The Church Protects people from Anomie

Example Artifact A. “Ephesians 2:19-22 New International Version (NIV)

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.


Summary A. This Bible verse is a prime example on preventing Anomie, the Church is a social structure with defined structure and meaning giving members a “unified family” and sense of stability and purpose

Example Artifact B. “

Psalm 34:17-20 ESV 

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.


Summary B. The Church; The Christian one in this example is in their biblical beliefs a social structure that is there almost to prevent a state of anomie. It provides a feeling of wholeness and allows purpose to the practitioner.  

Excerpt. “ The third variant of the alienation theme is derived from Durkheim’s description of “anomie,” and refers to a condition of normlessnes”

–On the meaning of Alienation pg 787.

Commentary The Church typically has a norm that they follow. In Christianity for an example they follow the bible which provides a norm for practitioner to follow.

(Principle #2)—The Church: How the Church Causes Anomie

Example Artifact A.  Social exclusion (segregation and social isolation) | Social Inequality | MCAT | Khan Academy

“This could be an additional magnet and these groups can face discrimination based on their race, gender sexual orientation and a whole heap of other different elements such as culture for example or citizenship or other preferences such as politics”

Summary A. The church in its beliefs tends to be exclusionary of those not believing the same things. Therefore those that go to the church in hopes of preventing that sense of anomie actually develop that sense without having the structure they crave.

Example Artifact B. The Audiopedia

those who align with the majority are considered normal while those who align with the minority are considered abnormal majority minority relations create a hierarchical stratification within social structures that favors the majority in all aspects of society

Summary B. Those who don’t Align themselves with the church (The Majority) become excluded from it.

Excerpt.  “Whatever the sentiments of the reader concerning the moral desirability of coordinating the goals-and-means phases of the social structure, it is clear that imperfect coordination of the two leads to anomie.”

– On the Meaning of Alienation pg 787.

Commentary. When your ideals and the social structure are not aligned, you lose the sense of norm and are pushed to Anomie.

(Principle #3)—Powerlessness: How the Church can help those feeling powerless

(Principle #4)—Purpose: How the church can offer anyone a chance for a “Greater purpose”

Example Artifact A: Blast to the Past

Manifest Destiny is a prime example of the church giving members a greater purpose, members become one, with the same goals, the norm preventing the sense of Anomie.

Summary A. Manifest destiny was the United States Church belief that they were called by God to move westward; it created a sense of purpose for all who believe.

(Principle #5)—Schism: How divides within the church counteract the good they do

Example Artifact A: The Great Schism

 as we get into the 11th century the divide between East and West becomes even more pronounced

Summary A. A divide on the Church creates a sense of Anomie. When the structure can not even figure itself out it can not offer what people need to prevent the sense of anomie.

Example Artifact B: Protestant Reformation

 “…before the Reformation pretty much all Christians in Europe were Roman Catholic yes there were other types of Christians in Eastern Europe and Asia and Africa but Roman Catholicism was the dominant form of Christianity and had been since like the 4th century the Protestant Reformation broke so called Western Christendom into two and then three and then four until finally there were uncountable denominations of Christianity”
Summary: The reformation caused a split that complicated the norms causing followers to question their beliefs and some to leave the church completely creating the sense of Anomie.

(Principle #6)Politics: How politics in a church Creates a sense of Anomie

Artifact A “Personal Experience”

On November 12th, 2017, My Church had a monumental vote on whether or not we would continue to be a member church of the United Church of Christ. after a 2 hour debate, the Norms had been changed We for the first time since inception were not a UCC church.

Summary A: Tears were shed and insults were hurled, the politics of church had caused a schism. The church placed itself in uncharted territory, going against the norm and creating a sense of Anomie for parties involved.

(Principle #7)—Cell Groups: How groups within The Church assist in Keeping norms and giving people similar groups to prevent Anomie

Artifact A: 2nd personal experience

The Church I used to attend was way too large. appx. 800 people on any given Sunday. I didn’t feel like a complete member of the church. However joining a smaller life group helped me to feel more complete. I could feel people cared for me and no matter what went on in the church my cell group stayed the same and kept normal.

(Principle #8)[Principle’s Name]: [Principle in sentence form.]

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