The religious sociology of Emile Durkheim tries to solve the ancient problem of the origin of religion by purely scientific methods, by means of sociology (a l'esprit sociologique). For Durkheim's sociology the problem of religion is the central problem, for he considers the religion to be the source of all other social phenomena: moral, juridical, scientific, etc. In his view the religion from very beginning contains, although in a diluted state, all elements which, intertwined in thousand ways, have produced various aspects of social life.
Each religion has a particular feature of its own by which it surpasses the strictly religious domain, so that by this outreaching influence upon the society the religion becomes interesting not only for philosophers. Since long time it is known that the first concepts that the man conceived of himself and of the world are of the religious character. There is no religion which is not at the same time cosmology and theory of Deity, too. If the philosophy and science are born out of religion, that is due to the fact that in the beginning religion was a substitute for science and philosophy. However, it has been less noted that the religion has not merely enriched the human mind with a certain number of ideas, but that it had also a predominant impact on its own formation. The essential notions, from Aristotle on, are those of time, space, gender, number, cause, substance, person, etc. They are the firm frameworks of thought. It is likely that the thought cannot get loose from that framework without incurring a danger of self-destruction. All these categories are born in religion; they are products of religious thought. Therefore, Parodi is right when stating that religion appears to Durkheim as the main form of social life, the manifestations of which are nothing else but ulterior derivations of religion. Being in the sharp opposition against all shades of historical materialism, which believed that they found the decisive factor of collective life in the economic phenomenon, the French sociological school seems to have found this main factor in the religious phenomenon. Prof. Davy Says: »There are very few problems for which there are no solutions offered by Durkheim«.
Judging by its pretention to be all-embracing, the religious sociology of Durkheim represents a Weltanschauung, a sociological understanding of life.
His approach to such problems Durkheim has developed in two sections. In the first section he treats with the following: the object of sociology and the method of investigation, Durkheim's conceptions of society, his definition of religion, categories and duality of human nature. The second section: a critical analysis of Durkheim's understanding of religion and other social phenomena.
The author concludes that Durkheim with his own sociological school was not able to give an acceptable scientific solution of the religious problem nor of the other problems which are related to religion. For all these problems can neither be properly discussed nor solved exclusively by human scientific capacity. They transcend the rational power of man and henceforth the conceptual capacity of Durkheim's positivistic sociologism, and therefore, all the above mentioned notions remain even today as open problems still puzzling the modern science and sociology.