Reflecting on week two

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first three chapters in Mark Chaves’ American Religion this past week. The Table showing the continuity in American Religion was one of the aspects of the chapter I was most intrigued by, because I find the idea of compiling data about religion so complex. I believe that it is very hard to establish a meaning to certain beliefs. Belief in God, Heaven, Hell, Faith, Prayer, each one of these aspects expresses a different definition and meaning depending upon the person whom is in question. In class you mentioned that a situation occurred, in which a census asked two very similar questions. The phrasing was different and both received about 30% of people saying they believe in it, but those groupings were completely different people who seemed to hold different beliefs. A simple change in phrase can result in a person unfollowing you and thinking that you are crazy. Religion draws lines that are not very neat and crossing over into someone’s line will cause them to quarrel with you.
Chapter four in Religion: The Social Context by McGuire, discussed the roles that woman play in religion. The ideas of the power complexity in allowing women too much power was connected to the idea that their sexuality is something men fear. Certain religions have given woman more leeway in playing bigger roles, because it doesn’t go against their strict traditions. Most of my close family members are part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and I see first hand, the restrictions of what a woman is allowed to do in the church. Women are not allowed in certain meetings and are not allowed to be pastors. The idea of controlling a woman can result in turning so many women off about religion.
Both of these authors have offered new concepts to my way of thinking. It is interesting to understand how different each religious establishment is and it also makes you wonder how similar each organizations are.