What stood out to me the most in the Chaves reading was the rise in spirituality while belief in God stayed relatively the same. What I took from this is that, people are not any less religious, they are just categorizing themselves differently. Terminology is important here because the term religious has a specific definition whereas spiritual is not as concrete.
Just this weekend I was speaking to an older woman, who was having a conversation with her daughter. The conversation was about religion and her daughter says, “mom you’re not religious, when’s the last time you went to church?” this claim caught the women off guard. She was shocked that her daughter would question her beliefs. She responded with “Just because I don’t go to church doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. I consider myself to be more spiritual than religious.”. BINGO I said to myself. Here was the Chaves reading, and our class conversations come to life. Was this just an extreme coincidence that someone would be having this conversation during me studying this topic or was it that I am now more aware of this distinction and the terminology?
In class, we talked about the idea of “if that’s religion, than I want nothing to do with it” Which makes sense to me, especially considering the shifting political climate that has happened in the past few decades. As religious institutions draw clear boundaries and align themselves politically, members will drop off. Like the example with the Catholic Church condemning contraceptives. It makes me wonder if the future of religious institutions looks more similar to businesses than to our previous conceived notions of a church. Either way, religious institutions and religious individuals are making choices, and when people are faced with leaving a religious institution, it doesn’t seem to be because of a change of faith but instead a change of politics?