This week my group and I conducted our presentation over our book, “Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes”. I enjoyed the questions we were asked and the comments that were made as they helped to clear things up in my own mind. I think the main point Ammerman may have been attempting to make is that even though people may be practicing in different ways, and not as many people are worshiping within the four walls of a congregation anymore, religion is still very much alive in the culture we live in today. She found that not many of her participants seemed to actually be “spiritual but not religious”. Although many people made that distinction, there is commonly a connection between spirituality and religion. That is, most people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious” may in fact be both; these phenomena are often interconnected, spirituality stemming from religion. Ammerman’s goal for her research was to figure out the reasoning behind why people are denouncing religion and distinguishing themselves from it. She found that some people mistrust the institutions in which religion is associated- that is, they do not agree with all of the teachings of the church. Some may be afraid to associate with religion because the changes in society are sometimes at odds with the traditional teachings of the church. I’m sure some people are afraid of being considered intolerant or bigoted.
I personally feel that this is very likely a reason behind why I have considered myself to be “spiritual but not religious”. I think this class is making me realize that I am one of many of us who may actually be both. While I don’t agree with everything I was taught at church, I still find religion to be important in my life. This world is not black and white, and we have to make sense of it the best we can. I think religion has acted as a way for us to conceptualize what is right and what is wrong- our “moral compass” if you will. As these ideas of right versus wrong change, should religious institutions also change?