Religion and Solidarity: The Vicissitudes of Protestantism

  • Dick HoutmanEmail author
  • Anneke Pons
  • Rudi Laermans


Whereas the late cultural-sociological Durkheim posits a relationship between religious understandings of the sacred and group solidarity, the early positivist Durkheim claims that Protestantism fails to generate much solidarity. This chapter therefore studies how orthodox and liberal Protestant understandings of the sacred are related to solidarity, conceived in the classical Durkheimian sense of shared group identifications. We find that the orthodox Protestant notion of a radically transcendent personal God gives rise to congregations that are on the one hand narrowly defined and tightly knit, but on the other hand vulnerable and precarious due to this same understanding of the sacred. The liberal Protestant understanding of the sacred as an omnipresent and impersonal divine spirit, on the other hand, informs diverse, inclusive and network-like communities without strict boundaries.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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