This week’s jigsaw activity, where we each read different stories to be taught to each other was a really interesting class activity. My reading, Religious America, Secular Europe, was particularly intriguing because, while it definitely charted the differences in religiosity found in America vs Europe currently, it also highlighted the causes. I thought it was interesting how Berger noted that Europe had been largely unaffected by Evangelical Protestantism, which has played a major role in the rise of conservative religion across America. Furthermore, the fact that the UK has remained relatively unaffected by Pentecostalism is also very interesting, leading to the question of why Europe is unaffected by these conservative religious movements?
It is interesting to consider how Evangelical Protestantism has largely shaped the rise of religiosity in America. When we think of conservative and highly religious groups in America, it easy to immediately think of Evangelicalism. In many ways, Evangelicalism is often thought of in its extreme examples, but it is important not to overlook the fact that Evangelicalism has appealed to a large portion of people in the country. When I think of the stereotype of Evangelicalism, I tend to think of the movie Jesus Camp (2006), which detailed the goings on of a Evangelical Christian summer camp called Kids on Fire. This movie focused on profiling highly religious individuals and how it has affected the raising of their children. In the Berger readings this week, it became apparent that this experience is uniquely American in many ways, as our relationship with religion pervades politics, media, and education in ways completely different from Europe.