Douglas(1984)指的是人类学家和宗教历史学家，如Robertson Smith，他用旧约和新约的类比来比较原始文化和文明文化之间的差异。这表明前者更优越，因为其伦理成分的空间分布和秩序是与神的个人关系。这一结论表明，人们应该考虑有序社会更优越(Durham 2006, p1)。道格拉斯(1984)对这一相当狭隘的观点提出了相反的观点，认为宗教不能仅仅基于对精神存在的研究来理解。它需要对人们对人类命运的看法进行评估。如果在研究其他文化中的污垢概念之前先研究其自身范围内的传染现象，那么对这个文明社会的贡献将会更大。
‘’There is nothing unreasonable of fearful in a person’s dirt-avoidance; it is a creative movement, an attempt to relate form to function, to make unity of experience. ‘’ (Douglas, 1984)
The inferences of this statement are that in an ordered society, there are rules and regulations. People are aware of how to behave in the urban environment. Primitive culture refers to the disorder, primitive societies act like a contagion to order. Primitive cultures gave importance to the ethical cult, societal values and the paranormal aspects. Certain fundamental aspects were given more importance rather than acts of cleaning. Some acts of welfare to the society were considered to be sacrilegious and demonic (Douglas 1984). From this it is understood that one should be separated from the other. This implies that cultures, values and morals define how dirt was construed in the society.
Douglas (1984) refers to anthropologists and religious historians such Robertson Smith who compared the differences between primitive and civilized cultures using the analogy of Old Testament and New Testament. This suggested that the former were superior because of the ethical components of spatial distribution and order to be a personal relationship with the divine. This concludes that people should consider ordered society to be superior (Durham 2006, p1). Douglas (1984) provides a counter argument to this rather narrow view suggesting that religion cannot be understood on the basis of the study of spiritual beings alone. It requires an assessment of people’s ideas on the destiny of humanity. Adding to this civilized society would learn more if it studied contagion within its own boundaries before studying dirt concept in other cultures.
It is suggested that Mary Douglas’s text can be expanded outside of the discussion of religion to the wider context of tolerance in society to different cultures. From an anthropological point of view, Douglas’s discourse highlights the conflict and tensions within society in respect of religion and culture. This points to that the lack of understanding creates tensions within society. Individuals and groups assume superiority largely due to a failure to understand the beliefs and ideals of other groups. It also hints at the desire for social order where “beliefs reinforce social pressures” (Douglas 1984, p.3) as opposed to ideology of the primitive culture.