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religion has the capacity to create wars between different religions and also bring societies together

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religion has the capacity to create wars between different religions and also bring societies together

This short session of the course had enabled me to learn more about religion. I have gained knowledge about religion, before taking this course this course, I had little knowledge about various types of religion across the globe. Actually, I had little knowledge of my own religion.  For all the assignments, I kept asking myself about an essential concept and the best ways I can apply the concept to whatever I am learning. In this paper, I briefly explore the concepts which I feel are of importance in this course. This course has provided numerous issues about religion and the various ways through which it has affected the past, present, as well as the future of religion in America. I have learned that religion varies from gender to culture, and it is indeed what makes us who we are. Religion is what makes us what we are. Most of the decision which we make on our daily lives stems from what our religion has taught us. The world makes use of religion to seek answers to the most difficult questions and also to be able to give a purpose for life. It is important to note that religion has the capacity to create wars between different religions and also bring societies together.

To be able to establish the most important concept, I will first discuss the concepts that I think are important in answering the final question.  The first concept, which I think is very important, is the Rational Choice Theory. The rational choice theory is mostly applicable to all individuals who are in a particular religion. XXXXX alludes that people do not simply decide to become a member or remain in a particular religious body because they have a socialized into that particular religion or because they are experiencing pressure from their relatives or friends, but rather because they actively weigh costs as well as the advantages so as to establish whether a particular religion is right for them or not.  Various studies show that Religion is very prevalent in today’s society because of Rational Choice Theory. The main reason as to why I chose to practice my religion is simply to have a connection with my family members and have peace. In some cases, I also join gatherings and celebrations because of religious holidays. In my culture, our religion brings us together, thus making us feel as strong and close family. Individuals believe that the good outweighs the bad in all aspects of life. In one of the meetings about the Believers project that I attended, one of my friends, who is a Muslim, shared that she continues to practice her religion because she gains numerous benefits from it. She said that she was born in that religion, and hence she didn’t have a choice but to join it. As she grew, the importance of religion to her family, she was much interested in respecting her family and keeping them proud and happy. If she did not practice her religion, then her family would disown her. She really loves her family and feels that the benefits of being a part of her family outweigh the cost of being disowned. I learned from her that most of the individuals in society crave social interaction.

The second concepts which is essential in religion are the necessity for social interaction. Religion as a group phenomenon is an outstanding concept that has been discussed in the course materials.  One of the things which I found interesting is the Group phenomenon because it has negative and positive effects on society. A group phenomenon considers religion to bring a group of individuals who share various similarities all together. Religious groups are classified by the following characteristics; similar purpose, similar goals, common roles as well as similar characteristics. These groups usually create socialization, which helps in ensuring that the groups can grow. Megachurches give the meaning of a group phenomenon. XXXX alludes that megachurch is the name given to a cluster of very large, Protestant congregations that share numerous characteristics that are distinctive. These megachurches have a total of more than two thousand individuals who attends that churches on a weekly basis for purposes of worshipping; the services are usually attended by an authoritative and charismatic senior minister. A very active weekly congregational community, a multitude of outreach and social ministries, as well as a complex differentiated organizational structure.  The megachurches are also characterized by power and high raw number, their practices, as well as leaders who are the most influential in the contemporary dynamic religion. Some of the leaders may make use of their power for bad and also to deceive their followers into thinking that they should do what they say or else they are doomed. This has been experienced in the mass suicide of more than nine hundred individuals as a result of the manipulation by James Warren Jones, who is a cult leader. Being the leader of the religious group Peoples Temple, Reverend Jim Jones, was responsible for the massacre of the 900 individuals who lost their lives. Due to the rational choice theory, individuals still think that the good outweighs the evil in such situations. Group phenomenon is one of the aspects of religion that has a major influence on religion in modern America.

Since groups are essential, the third concept in which I will explore the various ways through which religion influences politics. In America, there are basically two distinct types of political groups: republican vs. democrat. Politics are a major aspect of America’s system and the various ways through which it works. Religion has a major influence on the decisions of the political parties in America.  Various studies show that there has been a division in the United States since the election of the current president of America. The division was mainly triggered by Trump’s immigration views and ban on Muslims; most individuals do not agree with the choices made by Trump. I will utilize a personal story as an example. I have an uncle who migrated from Mexico. He has lived in the United States for more than 25 years. He has a five-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. He was deported due to Trump’s laws. He left him behind his wife and children. He was deported without receiving a parking ticket; he was not a criminal, so he required decent deportation. Despite working hard to be able to provide for his family, he was deported, and this made him adjust by living thousands of miles away from his family. When this occurred, A friend who is Christian decided to have a prayer ceremony with the uncle’s family. They also decided to raise money so that the family can hire a lawyer. The church members who opted to help my uncle’s family were aware of his uncle’s illegal status. Nevertheless, they opted to support and love him because of their religion. The argued that in their religion, all people are God’s children regardless of where they come from. Being a curious person, I asked them several questions, I even asked them whom they voted for, and surprisingly, most of them said that they did not vote for Trump because he has distinct religious views. This has an impact on most individuals during voting. Particularly with topics comprising of same-gender marriage and abortion. It is evident that religion has a major influence on politics. When natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey took place, the president sent prayers to the country. When Horrible crimes such as the Las Vegas shooting took place, the president also “sends his prayers” and the media also the creation of hashtags such as “#prayersfor…”.  XXXX postulates that it very difficult for an individual to win the presidency without showing a serious religious commitment. Nevertheless, the entanglement of politics and religion can be used for good, as it was used in civil rights and abolition movements. Based on the example I have provided, it is evident that religion can be mainly used well. Religion is utilized by distinct social classes for distinct reasons. For example, “most poor individuals in America undermine their economic interests by voting for Republican politicians who are interested in further concentrating wealth in the hands of the affluent. They do so, in part, because the Republicans appeal to their religious propensity” (XXXXXX).

In conclusion, the most important topic in this course is Religion in the Media. In this era, most individuals get daily news from various social media platforms. For starters, the media is a method of mass communication comprising of; the internet, broadcasting, publishing, etc. Examples of these methods of communication comprise of Television, radio, magazines, telephone, email, advertisements, billboards, etc. Just like an example, I used before, Joel Osteen uses Social Media to broadcast his service. In his mega-church, he gets thousands of people to attend. Using Social Media, he reaches out to millions of people around the world. This can help spread his teachings and influence people to join his church. The media comes rumors or misinformation to be spread. For instance, during the hurricane, Osteen closed the church as a result of  “severe flooding.”  Which was evident in some pictures which were posted by various media platforms. This is a good example of the negative effects of the media on religion. There have been numerous stories in the media about Muslims and the discrimination they faced. An international YouTube star by the name Adam Saleh, was kicked out of an airplane simply because he spoke Arabic. The experience was big for the YouTube community and made many individuals give different views about that experiences. During the meeting in the Believers project, one of my friends from the religion shared several stories of bullying on various social media platforms. She said that she joined Instagram when it became it became popular. At first, she would post pictures of herself and use hashtags such as “ islamgirl” etc. Those posts attracted most hateful individuals on her page, and she started receiving negative comments such as “terrorist!” “go back to your country” “your father probably beats your mom”  those are some of the most terrible things she said as she explained the kind of bullying she experienced in different social media platforms. She said that her religion had attracted hate due to the many stories which are on the social media platforms. She wants individuals to comprehend that not all people from her religion is are bad. There are horrible individuals out there who create stereotypes for individuals who are good. Media is involved in the creation of Stereotypes. My friend also explained that she usually gets stares when she travels on planes whenever she wears hijabs. She believes individuals tend to think she is a “terrorist” because of what happened on 9/11 and the various ways through which it affected the media and America. As Dr. Weight states in lesson 5, “Social media exposed people to new ways of looking at issues and allowed for a great deal of discussion and self-questioning,” (Weight, Lesson 5, pg. 8). With the use of Social media, people are able to express themself in many ways. Like my friend stated, social media can bring the negative side in people especially because you can be completely anonymous. Anyone can comment on your posts or send you messages from around the world. The media can spread false information and be used in a negative way, but it can also be used for good. For instance, my grandmother often uploads her updates on her health on Facebook. At the end of her statuses, she puts a bible quote and asks for “prayer warriors” to unite and pray for her health as well as everyone else. She has joined several Facebook groups that involve her religion and ways to meet people in the same church as hers. Using the media for good can include joining organizations that have churches who have fundraisers or donations for great causes. People in religion also use the media to promote. For instance, the other person I interviewed used the media to promote his church and his church music/band. I recently spoke to him and has updated me that he has gotten 50 people to join his church so far this semester.

All the concepts that I have learned this semester are important to religion in America. In my opinion, religion has a bright future ahead due to the modern growth and advancements in technology. Many individuals are freely talking about their religion, and America is becoming more inclusive or individuals from distinct religions. The media has religion to remain a hot topic in today society.





Work Cited

Barber, N. (2012, September 19). Why Religion Rules American Politics. Retrieved from


Christiano, Kevin J., with William H. Swatos Jr. and Peter Kivisto. Sociology of Religion:    Contemporary Developments / Edition 3. 2015. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.                   ISBN-13: 9781442216921.


College of Arts & Sciences. (2015). Retrieved from                                                                            


Jamie Garcia: Meet the Believers report


Marti, G. (2008). Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn from Americas Largest          Churches – By Scott Thumma and Dave Travis. Reviews in Religion & Theology, 15(3),                        336-338. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9418.2008.00387_8.x


Mazewski, M. (2013, September 14). Religion and Rational Choice Theory. Retrieved from                                         -theory/


SOC 420 Lesson 5: Keep Moving Forward—Media and the Future of American Religion


Zwartz, B. (2016, August 24). Religion in the Media: How has it Changed, Where is it Going? Why does it Matter? Retrieved from    how-has-it-changed-where-is-it-going-why-d/10096622



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