All posts by Christina

Blog Reflection 3/11

While reading chapter 8 of McGuire’s book, I was struck by her concept of privatization as a version of secularization. Privatization seems so familiar to me because that is how I have always seen my religion. Growing up, religion was taught to me as a personal relationship between you and God. As I got older, I began to lean more towards the forgiving teachings of the Christian faith and away from stricter Catholic teachings. I wanted my religion to be more tailored to fit me. This is a religion in the modern world.

In the world today you can find people everywhere who make religion individualized. Religion as a part of personal life used to create a moral code or as a buffer for stress. Everyone practices in different ways and defines their religious or spiritual life differently. More and more people are attending non-denominational churches and mega churches to be able to practice their way.

Americans are also strong supporters for separation of church and state, another way to keep religion a personal aspect.

Blog Reflection 2/18

At work this weekend, I told one of my coworkers how I had to visit a congregation as an assignment for this class. She was very interested, and we began to have a deeper conversation about religion in society. She brought up an article she had read and told me about it. She said that when looking at religious views and geographical locations, you can find specific religious beliefs in certain geographical locations on earth. She continued to say that depending on where you are born, you would be raised in a specific religion. Although this can be true for the most part, it is becoming less and less true as time goes on. In the case study I read for our presentations, Peggy Levitt makes a compelling argument about how immigrants coming to America bring their religious beliefs and culture with them and reshape America’s religious landscape. Levitt tells how the integration of these different beliefs has created less borders between religions. As religions spread further around the globe, the lines that divide each religion fade. Today, you can be born in Japan and raised Christian, or you can be born in America and raised Muslim. Of course, the culture you are born in plays a big part of your religious upbringing, but the culture that you are born into can be different than the country of which you are a citizen of. Although it’s no question that culture shapes religion,  we can also see that religion shapes culture.

Blog Post 2/11

In chapter four of McGuires book, she brings up the topic of Women’s Religion and Gender Roles. She explains the connection between religious expectations and societal gender stereotypes. The roles that men and women have in society are created by the religious groups  definition of them. In class recently, we have been talking about how more people are identifying as Unaffiliated and how the word “Spiritual” is being used more. When examining America in recent years, we see an increase in women and minority rights. People today are defying gender stereotypes and breaking the norms and views of society. Women of this generation refuse to conform to a man’s idea of what a woman should do or say. This creates many women who reject what many traditional or official religious teachings say. In non-official religions, women are allowed to define their own roles and find meanings that have relevance to who they really are and not who men tell them to be.

Reading Reflection 1/21

After reading the second chapter of McGuire’s book, I found the idea of a meaning system very familiar. McGuire explains that people create their meaning systems through socialization as well as a groups social norms and legitimations. As we grow up, we are taught the social norms and meaning systems of the social group used by our parents, friends, and teachers. As we get old enough to begin thinking individually, we start to accept or reject any meanings that are introduced to us. The meanings we accept build our individual meaning system, which can begin to differ from the meaning system of the social group we are in. This meaning system we have created is the driving force of our decision making and reactions to events in our lives.

I recently began reading a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. In this book, Ruiz presents the same subject with different language. Just like McGuire uses the term meaning, Ruiz uses the term agreement. However, agreement is used as a word for the meanings you accept because of your agreement to believe them. To Ruiz, a meaning system is just a set of agreements between yourself and your personal dream. He talks about “the dream of society” and “the personal dream”. These concept are similar to the ones McGuire brings up about “meaning for a social group” and an “individuals meaning system”. Ruiz explains that as we grew up, we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our beliefs, we just agreed with the information presented by the dream, or worldview, of society. As we got old enough to decide our beliefs for ourselves, we were able to choose what not to agree to. He explains how your personal dream and set of agreements affects your life, and he describes how you can change it by adjusting your agreements.

I found it interesting to have a similar topic used in different ways and for different purposes.