For the first jigsaw assignment I read Unsecular America by Roger Finke. Finke examines the different claims of the secularization theory and offers counter evidence. He states that church adherence rates have remained stable throughout the 20th century. In America, adherence rates are higher in urban areas and are influenced positively by diversity. The fastest growing denominations believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible and are strict with their members. Finke highlights that while the modernization equals secularization model may apply to some European countries, it does not hold true in America . He suggests that this may be because America has traditionally separated church and state while many European countries have long intertwined the two. In countries such as the UK, religion is more heavily regulated and it would be harder for smaller religious groups to start up. It’s much easier to start a religious group in America which leads to greater diversity in religion, which as Finke believes, positively impacts adherence rates.
When reading a scholarly article, especially on a topic I don’t know a lot about, I often believe what the author says without much question. Hearing all of the other groups present their articles in class, and realizing many conflicted with what Finke says in Unsecular America, made me question what to believe. I think the last group’s presentation on their article, which pushed for there not being one right answer and that many things were at play, helped tie the conflicting views together.