I guess I never really considered religion having such a profound effect on society. Religion never seemed to me like a super prevalent part of every day life. Being in a new environment so far from home in a different part of the country with completely different society norms, I am starting to see religion sneaking its way into daily life.
Maybe I’ve just been ignorant to it my whole life, or maybe there is a real reason why the south is called the “Bible Belt.” Either way, it supports a Durkheimian point that religion expresses a sociological reality. Our views and beliefs and feelings are very much bound and influenced by the society we live in and our society is defined by our geographical location. Our physical coordinates on this Earth actually influence our society and therefore our religious feelings and outlooks.
Does religion shape even small communities? What about High Point University as a community? It’s hard for me to tell. What kind of signs does a religiously influenced society exhibit? HPU is full of good people who pick up trash and hold doors and and say hello when they pass other students on the promenade, but is this a sign of religious influence? Sure you could say that it’s a Christian school and the students are acting as good Christians in their acts, but I think that is stretching an explanation around a phenomenon that it does not actually fit and explain. Rather I think you see the influence in the groups that have formed on campus. Campus Life is one that I know of but have never been involved in. There is a methodist chapel service on Wednesday evening. But I don’t know much about that either because I attend the Catholic survives on Sunday night. The fact that a Catholic group has formed on campus to offer Mass to the Catholic community of HPU speaks to the religious influence on society. If there wasn’t an influence, there would only be a Methodist service because the school is Methodist affiliated. But because of the ability religion has to create unity, groups develop, the “Methodist” school develops groups of other beliefs. And the people of other beliefs find each other and create deeper societies within the very broad and diverse community that is HPU.