Conflicting Secularism

After the presentations on Wednesday, our class discussions, and the readings for tomorrow, I realized something important about our studies: sociological theories are nearly never identical. In Wednesday’s presentations, groups of classmates explained the main ideas behind their individual readings, with the ultimate goal of reiterating the main message to the rest of the class. What became apparent by the last presentation is that each reading, in some way or another, was about secularism. However, the theories regarding secularism varied dramatically from group to group. The analysis of the numbers of religiosity over time was unique for each sociologists, and thus drew very different conclusions. For one article, the author’s opinion on how pluralism affected religiosity made a complete 180 from a book he wrote on pluralism several years ago. This made me realize that although many sociologists are doing good, clean, research,  nearly no one is going to be in complete agreement, depending on what you’re looking at.

Doctor Spickard made this point at the end of class, and it rang particularly true as I continued with my readings for tomorrow. In Gendering Secularization Theory, Linda Woodhead explains how often times, shifts in gender roles are completely disregarded when studying secularization, and thus half of the world’s population is being ignored, resulting in accurate data. Woodhead explained how the shift of women in society since the 1960’s directly changes how religious shifts. She further explained how most sociologists don’t take this simple factor into account, which could potentially change the outcome of all of their research. This demonstrates how many researches are not on the same page in regards to what is being looked for, and how evidence is being analyzed.