According to me, my most important chapter was that id chapter one. In this chapter, the author starts by stating the fact that religion is part of us. We interact with religion in every aspect of it. This is something that I can associate with. I have interacted with religion for many days. Being a Christian, I believe that religion has shaped the way I relate with other people. Religion has shaped the ethics I hold in the society. I can confidently say that religion is an integral aspect that we normally live with. There are many people who do not believe in any religion but they will acknowledge the fact that we are controlled by some unknown force. Even atheists will believe that there some natural being that controls the events that we interact with while here on earth. The ethics that are told to observe everywhere we go have been developed and shaped by religion.
The author argues that sociology of religion is empirical. This means that there is a need to have data to prove some aspects of religion. This takes me to my life while in college where I have met several people who will want to prove that something has indeed happened. There is a need to ensure that there are facts that prove that things take place. Many atheists are the learned in the society. The fact that there are few empirical facts that can be used to win them to believe in some deity is a fact that should be taken with interest. Many people who have come far in their career development will like to have facts which can be proved. This is the direction that religion should take. I believe that the things that we are taught about God should be documented in forms of verifiable facts. I understand that religion is something that should be done by faith in many situations. This is something that should be changed. In scientific methods, too, there is a need to have documented evidence to prove anything. I believe that the reason why many people do not take religion seriously is because there are no evidence. Not aspiring to change the way people view religion, I believe that the people who are concerned with discoveries, especially science subjects, should have a different approach to religion. They should therefore be approached differently.
The author brings in the aspect of group phenomena with religion. Religion has been taken to be something that is taken and undertaken in a group. This is something that I find it as the beauty of religion. This is how other aspects of life should be done. Most religions advocate for doing things in a group. As the Latin word Religare, which is the word that religion was borrowed, means binding together, most things that we do as religious beings are done in a group for a common purpose. We sing and worship as a group. This should translate into development projects that we normally undertake in our daily lives. This will help to bring the unity that we so desire in order to succeed in other aspects of our lives. I can attest to the beautiful phenomenon of group work that Johnstone (9) advocates. I have been in bible study programs and the ore I undertake these study programs in groups, the more I understand the bible. I have found out that with group work, there is synergy and good rapport that is developed. This is something that should be advocated when undertaking any form of activity. Although I appreciate this phenomenon, I fear what the internet and cyberspace developments will bring to the world of religion. The aspect of group work is something that is changing the way we live. We have many work-from-home programs that have been developed.
There will need to have a new paradigm shift as these programs might be shifted to worship-from-home church services. I believe this will change the religion of group phenomenon that is advocated by the developments that are experienced in the cyberspace. This aspect also is in tandem with that of sociology. There are features of groups that are defined in sociology. The first feature of a group according to sociology is that a group is made up of two or more people who have recognized a given pattern that they will be able to interact. When I have been interacting with the various groups in my work, I have realized that these groups will interact well with me when there is something that is common. When measuring the commitment of an individual in a group, there are aspects that need to be taken into consideration. One of my most important aspects that I normally look at when evaluating someone to their commitment to a group is how they do what they are to so in a group.
Another feature of religion that Johnstone (10) defines in the book is that of the body of beliefs that religion has. Religion is associated with beliefs that one is required to follow. Apart from the beliefs that are stated in the holy books that the various religions of the world believe in, there are other beliefs that are stated by individual group of religious people. I have made my own assessment and realized that these beliefs are geared at ensuring that people are as close to their god as much as possible. With the many distractions that we find in the world as religious people, there are various things that come in our way in order to distract us. This is the reason as to why the beliefs have been brought into being so that they destruct and deny us some other things in the society. If we engage ourselves with these things, will be condemned by the members in the groups that we belong.
Another characteristic of religion is that of undertaking some ritual practices. This is something that is common in all religions. Johnstone (12) states that there are many rituals, practices that are undertaken in many religions. In my own view, I see this practice will change with time. This is because there are rituals which are being advocated and practiced in some religions that are dangerous as it involves taking the lives of people. This is the reason why there is some involvement of the government in religious procedures. All the rituals should be assessed and should be checked to see if they are safe to be undertaken.
Religion also involves moral prescriptions. This is my best feature of religion. I believe the urge for someone to act in a given way is because of the need to be seen by some nature to be good and in that respect be rewarded by nature. I believe that this should be the main reason why religion is there. This should be emphasized so that people who are pagans could be won.
Beyer, Peter. Religions in Global Society. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2006.
Furseth, Inger and Pal Repstad. An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion: Classical And Contemporary Perspectives. New Delhi: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2006.
Johnstone, Ronald. "The sociological perspective." Johnstone, Ronald. Religion in society: A sociology of religion. 8. New York: Pearson, 2007. 3-19.