Religion and the “Vested Interests of the Dominant Social Classes”

It was very interesting reading McGuire’s chapter on the correlation between religion and the “vested interests of the dominant social classes” after hearing all the different case studies presented before Spring Break (McGuire 280). During this chapter, McGuire writes in detail about the connection between religion and social change. Some of the key factors that stood out to me in this discussion was differentiating between religion promoting or inhibiting social change (either way, they’re typically occurring simultaneously.) McGuire spoke in particular of African-American religious groups and their relationship with society and social change.

While reading this chapter, I was often reminded of the case study presentations given by my classmates the week prior, and in particular those who read Goldman and Marti’s books. I related them to the two kinds of distinction we typically find within religious groups and society. The Rajneeshpuram group discussed in Goldman’s book reminded me of the friction and segregation between the religious group and society whereas the Mosaics Church seemed to have an opposite effect, directly pulling in and incorporating aspects from the LA community that surrounded it in order to make it more appealing and relatable to the younger generations. After hearing both of these presentations, I felt quite differently about both groups. The Mosaics church drew me in and made me feel more connected to their message of embracing diversity of multi-ethnic communities coming together as one. And on the other hand, I felt detached and unsympathetic towards the Rajneeshpuram community. I can’t shake that there is probably a correlation between my liking of the group that tries to assimilate to society versus my reproachfulness of the group that isolates itself from society.