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Religion In Modern Britain: An Outsider

1302 words - 6 pages

In my personal opinion, it is possible for an individual to feel as if they are an outsider to a religious group of people, or a religion as a consensus. On the other hand, I believe that is it quite impossible to be a complete outsider of a religion. But I believe it is possible to be an outsider of a certain type of religion, if you know nothing about it. Then one can easily become an insider if they immerse themselves in that religion’s culture and study it’s practices. Currently in my life, I do not practice or affiliate myself with any type of religion or religious group, so therefore I can classify myself as an outsider of religion in my present state. But years ago when I was ...view middle of the document...

Within this paper, I will argue that it is impossible to be defined as a complete outsider of religion and provide valid proof of this notion. I will also express my opinion of how popular culture and politics prevent an individual from being deemed an outsider.
I listened to the podcast we reviewed in one of our seminar classes. It is titled ‘George Chryssides on the Insider/Outsider Problem’, and Christopher R. Cotter is interviewing him (Cotter). The podcast generally talks about how the insider/outsider distinction is a fundamental aspect of the study of religion and how it is an important viewpoint to take into account. When studying religion, this is an essential element to pay close attention to, because the result of the research can depend a lot on what point of view it is coming from. George Chryssides is an honorary research fellow of contemporary religion at the University of Birmingham (Cotter). I believe he has a lot of interesting things to say in the interview that have altered my opinion on what an insider/outsider perspective really is. They define an insider as the individual who follows and practices the religion, and the outsider is the one who studies it or can be considered the non-believer (Cotter). Chryssides describes himself as mostly being an outsider, because he is always the one who is observing the religion rather than practicing one. He says he is a practicing Christian, and has no problem with maintaining his own faith while studying other religions outside his own (Cotter). Throughout listening and re-reading my notes about this podcast, I’ve realized that there are various different views on what an outsider really is. Most people could consider an outsider someone who knows nothing about a religion, but the researchers define it as someone who just doesn’t practice that religion. While thinking deeply about the meaning of the interview, I discovered one portion of the discussion that seemed most relevant to my argument. Dr. Chryssides states how sometimes an educated researcher will begin to practice a new religion and end up shocking current members because they know more about the origins and practices than they do (Cotter). This is probably because they come from an educational standpoint and truly learned about all aspects and origins of the religion rather than just the spiritual practices. This reveals to us how a so-called ‘outsider’ of a religion can almost be deemed more of an insider than the actual practicing members. This relates to the argument of how no one can be considered a complete outsider because people, especially scholars, define an outsider so differently from one another. In my opinion, this is all evidence that it is quite impossible to be a complete outsider of religion.
According to the article ‘Religion in popular culture’ by Christopher Partridge,...

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