“Narrative Versus Theory” Reflection

It was interesting to see these five narratives laid out, in a way, against each other. I realize now that I have seen these narratives throughout the class; however, at the time, I did not realize that they each argued a different point of view. Four of these narratives are exemplified in Peggy Levitt’s God Needs No Passport. In speaking with different religious groups, as well as different members of these groups, Levitt explains and analyzes these narratives. Levitt, herself, almost argues for a more secularized view of religion. Throughout the book she emphasizes the need for society to become more pluralistic in its view of religion. The way I saw it, secularization would allow for religions and religious practices to be more accepted across the board. There were a few people that Levitt interviewed who subscribed to “The ‘Good Old Way'” narrative. These were people who Levitt referred to as the strict faithful. They have a “reverence for rules in the words of Spickard. These are those individuals who adhere to the rules of their faith and take enjoyment out of it. That is how they practice their religion. The “Religious Reorganization” narrative was demonstrated by many of the individuals in God Needs No Passport since all of them were immigrants. Many of them explained how religious groups/communities that they are apart of in America help them to become integrated here, as well as keeping ties with their home country, or, in the case of the “religious global citizens”, ties with other believers around the globe. Levitt also has a section devoted to the “Religious Individualization” narrative. One could argue that the entire book follows along that narrative. Levitt speaks with individuals who explain what religion means to them, what beliefs they hold, and how they practice these beliefs. Levitt asked one woman in particular what she thought of the different ways people practice the religion she participated in. Her response was that she did not mind it since religion was such a personal thing, which fits the “Religious Individualization” narrative.