This week we participated in a jigsaw activity in which we were all responsible for teaching and learning from each other. I thought this was really awesome because I’ve learned about the jigsaw method of teaching from a Psychology of Prejudice class I took a few semesters ago, and how the method is supposed to encourage inclusivity and reduce prejudice by making students reliant on one another.
The articles that we were assigned intrigued me because, although many of them analyzed the same religious trends, they all had different conclusions to make about the role of religion in Western life. Some scholars claimed secularization is a myth, while others vehemently defended that secularization is the new reality. Some scholars believe that we are moving toward an era of extreme conservatism, while other scholars disagree. It just illustrates how data alone is not sufficient to make a conclusion; it is people who give data meaning, and people have different interpretations and perspectives, meaning there might not be one objective truth.
It was also interesting to hear how religiosity differs in Western countries; the general consensus seems to be that in religion is declining in Britain, but in America religion still plays a big role in people’s lives (even if it is less so than in the past). Knowing that both Britain and America were deeply religious a few hundred years ago, it makes me wonder how this shift occurred. What parts of history influenced each country to create this difference, and what are the potential implications for how this change affects policy making in each nation? One of the reasons why I value sociology so much is that we have the responsibility to connect the dots, to make educated inferences about the ramifications of different worlds trends, and we, as sociologists, can see changes in the worlds through a more analytical lens.