Two concepts that I found very interesting while reading McGuire’s chapter of “Religion in the Modern World” was the concepts of societalization and privatization. McGuire begins this chapter by discussing the overall decline of religion seen in individuals’ lives. One approach to explain this is the idea of societalization which is described by Bryan Wilson. He discusses the loss of power that religious organizations have when it comes to large corporations such as media, politics, television, sports, and so on. He claims that because of the rise of these corporations, religion cannot keep up and becomes comparatively weaker. I had never thought of religion as having to compete with corporations and found this comparison compelling. When I was growing up, my friends would often say that they didn’t want to go to church because they didn’t want to miss a birthday party, or a softball game, etc. Although these aren’t large corporations, it shows that religion still has to compete with everyday life activities that may be more exciting to someone that isn’t extremely religious. Another reason for the decline of religion on the social spectrum, is due to privatization. As religion has continued to change in recent centuries, it has become an increasingly private for individuals. It is used to act as a buffer for people to express their stress and issues from social life in a different aspect. I found that church I observed, The First Congressional Church of Redlands, showed this concept. Never in the service, did the pastor share personal experiences or ask for people to share with others. The service contained a lot of rhetorical questions and time for private prayer at the end. For these individuals, church was a very private matter and a way for them to communicate their everyday issues and stresses with God.
One thought on “Blog Post 3/18”
The private aspect of religion is perhaps why it gets sidelined by other socially acceptable events. Also, privatization has resulted in government or community programs providing services that were once part of what churches gave to their congregation and surrounding community.
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