This week my group is presenting onTradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism by Lynn Davidman. The theme of lineage appeared multiple time throughout the course of this book. Women were seeking out Judaism as a way to connect with their roots and thereby felt empowered through their inert connection because of their ancestry. This theme isn’t unique to this book, nor is it unique at all. I am currently reading The Life of Milarepaand The Life of the Buddha and the same theme of lineage runs throughout. Also, it is present in the bible with the laundry list of lineages from Moses to Jesus! I wonder what this importance of lineage is? Why do so many religious stories begin with ancestry? This seems strange to me because I have been exposed to so much choice in my life. American religious movements that I study in my major haven’t been around long enough for an ancestry within to form. I guess that is the point, those people that do have that intrinsic connection to a religious organization that stems back centuries have a special tie to it.
This makes me think about the contrast between established religions like Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. that have had hundreds to thousands of years to create webs of connections throughout humanity and newer religions organizations that have not created those ties. And if this emphasis on lineage is valid (as it keeps appearing over and over again) then there is no way I can see a demise in these traditions. So, while we see an increase in “spirituality” and a decrease in adherence, I’m curious to know if it’s just new religious movements that should be scared for their future? Especially when taking into account things like Hansen’s law of third-generation and similar types of “reconnection” that is possible within the world’s oldest religions. So while we might witness downward trends in numbers in all religious organizations, it makes sense to me that if those numbers ever did increase they might be for religions that have “roots”?