Friday, August 21, 2009

The “Funky” Side of Religion

“U.S. Adolescent Religious Identity, the Media, and the “Funky” Side of Religion” by Lynn Schofield Clark.

Jerome Marson

Lynn Schofield Clark’s article assesses the wide range of beliefs surrounding teenagers in the United States with regards to the supernatural. Clark presents the views separated into five separate categories on a spectrum from the ‘traditionalists’, who reject media and embrace religion, and the ‘resisters’, who reject religion and accept media. All varying degrees in mind, the five categories represent the main thoughts of the chosen participants.

The article outlines the chosen study group of teenagers in numerical values, stating the number of teens from a certain religious background, the number of teens per racial background, and economic status. Of the 262 participants the article only quotes specific statements from nine individuals. These nine are used as examples of the five belief categories but the article lacks further examples, perhaps due to the ability of teens to find the right words to describe their beliefs. It would have been a very positive addition to have included some quantitative data to see how the spread of the chosen survey group extended along the spectrum.

The article also suffers slightly in that further, wider research would have most likely yielded results that would have extended the five categories into at least six, perhaps even more. The last classification, the resisters, hated the construct of organised religion yet loved the supernatural. I, as others also, would suggest that a further distinction be made – that those teens that rejected both organised religion and the supernatural. Whether this is a difference in culture and does not appear in the United States remains to be seen, and may just be related to the participants – the limited number of, the particular teens chosen, or the willingness of these teens to divulge their beliefs. Maybe by being so selective in the survey group, Clark and her colleagues have missed out on an even wider result in their research.

No comments: