Reading about the different religious narratives helped me to tie together a lot that we have learned in the course so far. I realized why it was somewhat difficult for me to summarize what I have learned- because the same data can be interpreted in so many different ways. The narratives of secularization, conservative resurgence, religions as local communities, increased individualism, religious markets, and globalization all have some validity to me and that is difficult for me to wrap my head around. All of these narratives invite support and critique, and there is no way that one can ever be proved the “correct” narrative.
This week in my theory class we read Michel Foucault and his thoughts on discourse seemed relevant to the debates between the different religious narratives. Discourse shapes and defines our reality and ideas. There is nothing pre-existing being discovered though discourse, but it is created through power and knowledge. When reading about the different religious narratives, I thought about how no one discovers some pre-existing truth and there are only interpretations of data. This also made me think of social construction and how scholars construct the reality of religious trends, and because they are constructions none can be classified as “true”.