McGuire Chapter 4 Reflection

Our reading from the past week, chapter four of McGuire’s Religion: The Social Context, talked about the ins and outs of official and nonofficial religion, and the different ways that religion, spirituality, and belief could be classified. One thing that really stood out to me from this reading was the assertion that, “No single quality could be used to describe the individual as ‘religious’ or relatively ‘more religious’ than another individual” and the following five dimensions of religiosity. These dimensions were listed as experiential, ritualistic, ideological, intellectual, and consequential. I loved the idea that religion and spirituality influence and are influenced by such different factors, and that there are the different kinds of “levels” or “areas” of religiosity. I think that religion impacts every person in very different ways, which can all be found through the consequential dimension, but I think that each dimension informs the others. I believe that people who identify more with spirituality than religiosity may state that they think more about the experiential or ideological dimensions, while some others who may attend services and bible study every week identify most with the ritualistic and intellectual dimensions.   I feel that most, if not all, people have had some sort of brief experience with each dimension, whether it be through observation or direct lived experience. People who have never had an experience with ritual or intellectual religion may go out into nature or hear a choir sing and experience a bliss and connection with the world that could only be described as holy, which opens up to them the experiential dimension of religion. I appreciated the look into religion through this lens, and having a breakdown of where and how religion can be practiced, felt, thought of, and informed.