I have found myself pondering the role of religion in modern life as of late. For my case study earlier in the semester, I read Tradition in a Rootless World by Lynn Davidman. My findings from that study along with my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes me wonder how the role of traditional religions will adapt and change as times go on. I personally predict that traditional religions will gain membership as an almost counterculture movement. This may seemed rather far-fetched, but let me explain.
Popular counterculture movements, though typically rather liberal, have always been a direct result of society. Modern society has become increasingly more liberal and less structured. People who are attracted to order, rules, and form are beginning to feel ostracized from mainstream society. The polarization of the media does not help the moderate middle, who do not align themselves with both the structureless left and the close minded right. People are searching for a middleground. People are searching for order. People are searching for answers. Though the religious majority continues to be Protestant, statistics show that protestantism has been on a steady decline over the years.
Lynn Davidman revealed that those who converted to Orthodox Judaism did so because of confusion surrounding modern culture and a desire for order. I predict that as society continues to lose structure, more people will cling to religious ideologies that provide that. However, I do believe that this hypothesis is conditional. I do believe that more traditional religious organizations will gain membership in the future, but only if certain sacrifices are made. Modern Society has been shifting towards a more equality based belief system, and churches need to reflect that to some extent. Emphasizing the importance of women and People of Color in leadership will bring many more converts to these traditional churches. These traditional churches need to make moves to appeal to the moderate middle. Failing to do so will lead to serious losses in membership, I believe.