Jason Wollschleger's Theory Of Religion

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role in the idea of symbolic realism as well. Symbolic realism revolutionizes the ways in which reality is understood. Whereas Durkheim sees symbols as being just an inner reality, Bellah sees symbols as having both an inner as well as an outer reality. In other words, religious systems are assumed not to be understood by outsiders, or in this case, those who are not believers in the Christian faith, but according to Bellah’s argument, they actually are able to be understood by the outsider group through symbolic realism. In Jason Wollschleger’s (2012) study of Randall Collin’s theory of interaction ritual chains and religious participation, ideas were generated directly from Durkheim’s concepts of collective effervescence and religious symbols. …show more content…
909). Depending on the situation at hand, I agree with the idea that individuals determine symbolic meanings based on the emotional energy they feel, which is determined by interaction rituals and collective religious participation. Like Bellah argued in his work, symbols have varied meanings, or “multiple realities,” as he says, dependent on the situation (1970, p. 94). Once again the collective power of religion is easily understood by the individually chosen emotions and moods of which are constructed by religious participation. In other words, religious symbols, or the emotions and moods associated with such symbols, are capable of attaching the individual to the entire …show more content…
The influences of religious participation likely follow the importance of religious symbols in Christianity. Wollschleger’s study successfully tested his hypothesis which stated that “congregations with higher levels of emotional involvement will have higher congregational attendance ratios” (2012, p. 901). Religious symbols themselves are what is responsible for such high emotional energy. With the use of the responses to various questions, Wollschleger could measure the observed emotional expressions that were involved during worship service. The emotional involvement in Christian worship service is very important in understanding how powerful the collective group is. Research should be more interested in this point, and in how the prominence of religion and its power is understood through religious participation. This argument also supports Durkheim’s (1912) ideas that religion is responsible for social integration. I argue that people wouldn’t attach themselves so strongly to their religious group unless they felt some sort of solidarity, produced by the collective power of the group. Despite challenges to this idea in Bellah’s work, he also quotes Durkheim and says that, “It is a singular error to present individualist morality as the antagonist of Christian morality; on the contrary it is derived from it” (1970, p. 91). In other words, to say that Christianity is an entirely individual moral life, or as Pagis (2012) would call, a religious

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