Official and Nonofficial Religion

Typically, when I think of religion I think of it in the “traditional”  sense, where one goes to church every week and engages in traditional aspects of worship. I think many Americans also view religion in the same way, as traditional, institutional religion seems to be the most accepted way to practice. Last week in class we watched a movie about two separate individuals, Glen and Susie, and how they incorporated religion into their lives. Both individuals engaged in the traditional aspect of religion, by attending church as their main form of worship, among other forms. Both individuals were considered to be very religious, and it makes me wonder if they didn’t attend church, and practicied “nonofficial” religion, they would still be considered religious? During the first week of class we learned about our classmates’ religious affiliations, and many described themselves as “distanced” from their parents’ religion, or not religious at all. I’d be interested to know if they described themselves as nonreligious because they simply don’t go to church, or because they don’t believe in the aspects of their respective religion. If they viewed themsleves as nonreligious simply because they don’t engage in official religious practices, I think that would be something very interesting to talk about in class. Those who don’t engage in official religious practices can still be religious, but it seems that American society today sort of stigmatized that concept and delegitimized religion that is not practiced in a traditional setting.