In Chapter 7 of Chaves’ book, “American Religion: Contemporary Trends,” he discusses out when discussing religious differences, people naturally think about the differences between “Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and more recently, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and others,” yet there is a division even within these groups which is between liberals and conservatives. Chaves continues to explain how the label liberals and conservatives are often grossly generalized and how it is difficult to fully take notice to the complexity of the two.
This point brought the question to mind of how many churches, temples, synagogues and other congregations do we assume are liberal or conservative based on the stereotype society has created for each religion? Is there truth to the stereotypes of the religion or are they misunderstood? Furthermore, I think its important to analyze how this even can vary from person to person in a congregation. Yet, it is also significant to recognize any themes there might be among people of a certain religion and analyze how their religious beliefs might or might not align with their political beliefs. This also brings up the question of can you have political beliefs that are separate and different from one’s religious beliefs? How much does one affect the other?
The class thus far has made me realized the personal bias, assumptions, and preconceived notions I had about religion and certain religions. Taking a more sociological perspective has helped me realize the value and varying differences each religion can have.