Changing Religion

Last week in class we focused our discussion on the difference between official and non-official religion. In order for a religion to be seen as official it needs to be legitimate in the sense that there is a location to meet at, a leader, a doctrine to follow, and rituals to practice. When a religion is seen as non-official that means that the setting is casual it can be anywhere and anybody could lead whatever they want. In my opinion I still believe that even if a religion is non structured or practiced in someone’s home or car it still can be official. It is official in the sense that it is very real and has meaning to them. I have had trouble understanding exactly how you can tell a person that their religion isn’t official, so this topic has been more challenging for me.
In Chaves’ readings, he brings up the point that the amount of people going to church has become a very stagnant number and not increased. Part of the reason for this is that the demographics of America are changing. Traditional married families, and small families are not the norms anymore. People form families in many ways now with different traditions than the church looks for. Things that have changed are organizational ties, denominations, and congregations. We see talk about this too in McGuire’s Chapter 5, where she brings about the idea of denominations breaking down and new groups being created like “cults.” By the end of these readings all that comes to mind is that religion is not at all what it used to be and one thing I have come to know for certain about defining religion, is that it is ever changing.