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27 February 2012

Pluralizing "Christianity"

Because of some ongoing research, I am reading more about the concept of "Christian privilege," the notion that normative assumptions about religious identity give several advantages to the majority over the minority in the U.S. I propose that one way to combat this is through educating our students to the diversity of religious identities in the U.S., particularly diversity within "Christianity." In fact, we need to stop using the term "Christian" as if it refers to a monolithic group. There is a no such thing as a Christianity in terms of a single belief system, a cohesive sense of shared belonging, or a consistent set of behaviors. Think about the differences between Presbyterians (U.S.A.), Catholics, AME'ers, and non-denominational Evangelicals. Aside from a general and vague consensus over the nature of Jesus and the Trinity, there is not much that these folks share; in fact, there are some very serious divisions between these groups. Now, compare these folks to Unitarians or Mormons, and some even deeper cleavages open. All of these groups are Christian, though. Use of the singular "Christianity" belies the underlying diversity among the varied Christianities.

I'll be presenting more on this line of research and teaching at Southerns (12:15 PM Saturday 24 March 2012 Royal Ballroom Salon A Hotel Monteleone New Orleans, Louisiana). Hope to see you there!

Suggested Readings:

Steensland et al. "The Measure of American Religion"

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the Tricia Seifert! "Understanding Christian privilege: Managing the tensions of spiritual plurality" is like the best thing ever! Sorry! I don't mean to be your "Amen corner" (lol get it?) but I really love that article. Also, I never thought about the use of the word "Christianity" as a label in that way, but it makes sense. You so smart!