An Unsecular America

This past week in class, we read and discussed seven different articles, and took turns presenting the material to the rest of the class. My assigned article was “An Unsecular America” by Roger Finke, which argued that religion is not declining and disappearing as so many of us are inclined to believe. This reading was very interesting because it traced, from a sociological perspective, the prevalence and growth of religion and spirituality in America, and frequently used Europe as comparison to add more context to our perception of our current religious landscape. We have many more religious sects and denominations throughout America, because it is relatively low-cost to create a new church, and to gain new followers; in many parts of Europe religion and state are interconnected and therefore the government can influence how religious sects and denominations are formed. In Europe finding followers and instigating a new religious movement is much more difficult, not to mention costly.
I really enjoyed this particular article because it challenged our ideas of religion in America, and provided an alternative perspective. I feel like religion in America is oftentimes misconstrued, and there is a continuing public dialogue that religion and moral standards are declining in America, but this is not entirely true, as Finke illustrates. I know that for me and many others, religion is still just as much an important part of our lives, and regardless of what minor declines may state. I also appreciated hearing the stories of all the other student’s class articles that gave more context and counterpoints to my assigned article.