Last week in class we discussed religion in the 21st century and where religion is going now. All semester we’ve mainly been focused on American religion and how it’s changing, but as we discussed, these changes have been present all over the world. We talked about the importance of religion going global and the impact of religion on immigrant congregations. What stuck with me after this lecture was the transnational aspects of religion. Earlier this semester I read Levitt’s book called “God Needs No Passport” and it focused on religion in the lives of several immigrant groups. The ideas that the book touched on have stayed with me all semester, but this was kind of the first time we went more in depth on transnationalism as a whole class.
Religion is global and allows people to live in two places at once because it provides a community and structure. For immigrants, religion can be the one steady thing that they bring with them that helps them assimilate and adjust to their new life. I feel that I personally know the impacts of this. I moved to the U.S. when I was four and my parents used religion as a constant stability in our lives. I grew up in my Church and it has always been with me and my family no matter where we are. So I think that the one of the reasons that religion is such a large component for immigrants is because it reminds them of home. When you move, whether to a different country or just a different house, the goal is to establish a home and a comfortable one at that. So for many immigrants they put their roots into their new country via religion. We talked about a region in East London which has 300 congregations, many of which established by immigrant groups. This is their way of assimilating and connecting to their roots as well as their new home. Although religion is very individualistic it’s roots, community, and meaning stick with one, thus allowing religion to be a comforting stabilizer for people to bring with them wherever they may go.