Reading Reflection 21/1/19

In chapter 2, McGuire talks about religious legitimations: any form of established explanation given to justify a course of action.

What is interesting is that when I think of religious legitimations there is always a negative connotation. For example, certain conservative churches legitimizing the Pulse Nightclub shooting as a work of their God to punish the LGBTQ+ community. However, this is not how McGuire approaches legitimations in chapter 2, and rightfully so. It was interesting for myself to read about legitimations and think, “yeah, alright that makes sense” etc. etc. From an objective standpoint legitimations aren’t inherently evil as my brain likes to think they are. It is enlightening to see that legitimations are really just ways for religions/churches/social groups to explain their past behavior and shape future actions. For example, at my own church they encourage tithing (which is always optional by the way) not only as a way to obey God but also to provide resources for other members such as youth programs and other church locations. To explain this future course of action there is an appeal to the tradition of Christian tithing and compassion. I realize when I’m sitting in church I don’t necessarily think of this as evil. Perhaps that is because I am brainwashed (worst case scenario). Or it just isn’t evil? I suppose that is for others to decide as I am too embedded in the group.

I suppose that my takeaway from this is that not every legitimation from every religion is bad or has some underlying scheme. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t ones that can and are hurtful to some groups of people, but that isn’t necessarily the norm. As a result, I will work on (and try my best to) being more objective when it comes to these legitimations.