Blog Post 04/15

This past week in class we heard students present about their visits to different congregations within the Redlands area. The diverse religious landscape found within such a small area will never cease to amaze me, and even the differences found within the vast array of congregations that fall under one major branch of religion. The majority of the students in our class visited congregations that identified themselves as “Christian” in some way or another, ranging from Evangelism, to the church of the Latter-day Saints, to Jehovah’s witnesses, and beyond. I appreciate doing these congregation visits, and hearing about other students’ experiences because it has helped me delve further into the world of sociological thinking, in which one listens and learns about other people’s experiences and beliefs without judging. Prior to taking this class I may have classified some of these religious traditions as “weird,” “fake,” or even “cultish,” but I have learned to become fascinated by the world of religious traditions that differ from my own upbringing, and to learn and understand rather than judge or fear. We have begun to form our own small ethnographies of the religious traditions we have immersed ourselves in, and through this I have personally began to understand the criticality of pluralism, and that we must engage this idea in our study of sociology, anthropology, and religion.