This week, we discussed one of my favorite things: organizations! While the types and system for categorizing religions is complicated, it is comforting to understand that these exist, so people do not get confused. The “Separate Realities” documentary we watched really hit the nail on the head about the differences of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and First Baptist Church. The discussion we had regarding the churches respective congregation members raised an important aspect of belief and belonging. Each person felt that their church filled a hole in their life that would have otherwise been left empty. Key insights that I found particularly interesting was how each of the church-goers seem to view their religious experience as a method of coping with past deeds, and it helps them re-evaluate their lives on a major scale. While the Episcopalian found her relationship with God to be a more personal nature, the Baptist made it his sworn duty to tell others about Jesus—because that is what he is called to do, it is his purpose in life.
Furthermore, chapter five of McGuire’s text reinforced the evidence of people’s social environment having an affect on their religious life. The sorting system of either a churchly, denominational, sectarian, or cultic orientation certainly helps, poll-wise, to separate how these organizations are operating. I know figuring out whether an organization is hierarchical, congregational, or individualized is a critical sociological element that will come in handy later in life. Overall, the church has become not only a place of worship to some, but a place of social interaction where people can learn from one another—religiously and personally.