Reflection 3/18

In this week’s reading, “Narrative vs Theory,” it was really interesting to read about the religious narrative of “religious individualism,” which Spickard defines as, “Individuals now pick from various religious options, crafting a custom-made religious life, rather than choosing a package formulated by any religious hierarchy” (14). Generally, religious beliefs have become more diverse as a way to appeal to different people. I found this to be interesting because when we think of think of religion, we usually think of formal churches tied to specific doctrine. However, this narrative highlights how religiosity is not so easily measured by one’s adherence to church doctrine. I definitely find that members of my family who claim to be religious are often in disagreement with more “fundamentalist” approaches to their church. Instead, these family members have subscribed to a multitude of religious values drawing from different organizations. This is is particularly evident in the intersection of political and religious values.

For example, many religious people in my extended family adhere to the label as Catholic. While the church that my extended family attends has an unaccepting approach to LGBT groups, the majority of my family has chosen to adhere to a more accepting stance on the issue. This is directly consistent with the observation that, “[Individuals] do not feel compelled to switch religious communities when their religious views change” (Spickard 15). Essentially, while the people in my family still consider themselves Catholics, their actual religious viewpoint draws from a multitude of different sources. Their religious viewpoint is not what one would consider to be fundamentalist Catholic, but instead is indicative of multiple religious values drawn from different sources. I also believe that this is a result of increased access to different religious teachings. One can easily access different teachings online through digital texts or sermons being delivered through streams.