Unofficial vs. Official Religion

I thought that this topic of official and unofficial religion was quite interesting. I had never thought of something like a home alter, or alter on a freeway in honor of someone passing as “unofficial religion”. It’s interesting that these two ideas can coexist, meaning someone can go to church one day, but also have an alter in their home. These two entities can also be separate,  as someone can just prescribe to official or unofficial religion. As McGuire says in Chapter 4, “…asking a respondent’s ‘religious affiliation’ may tell a researcher little or nothing about members’ actual religious beliefs, practices, commitments, or experiences” (McGuire, 103). McGuire also mentions that researching official religion is easier than researching unofficial religion. I wonder what are effective ways of researching unofficial religion? Is it possible to get substantial and meaningful data, especially because with unofficial religion, respondent have their own definition of terms. I think it is interesting though, as mentioned in class, that “popular” religion was seen as superstition in medieval Europe and was considered illegal. The change from official religion to unofficial religion in the West and Europe is interesting to study, and also to see how cultural influences changed the religious landscape of a given place an time period.