Principles of Sociology/Religion

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Principles of Sociology/New Agers and Fundamentalism

This American Life presents... a story called "Pray"[1]... Can the secular world and the religious world understand each other? We ask that question while visiting Colorado Springs, CO, where Pastor Ted Haggard at the New Life Church has put in place a project to pray in front of the home of every person in the city, systematically, block by block and house by house. He's also helped organize a 24-hour-365-day-per-year "prayer shield" over the city, all night prayer vigils, and more. Prologue. Mary and Manfred Rauer have been married 22 years. He's a devout Christian, goes to church every week, reads the Bible every day, was head of his congregation. She's an atheist. They're happy. But there are things they don't understand about each other. How big is the gap of misunderstanding between religious people and secular people? They provide a case study. (6 minutes) Act One. Exodus. Alix Spiegel in Colorado Springs, where a massive prayer project is underway to pray for every person, business and school. When she arrives, she finds the Christians speak a kind of Christian jargon she does not understand. When she goes to her local contact to discuss it, and to find more sympathetic people to profile, he says that he believes the secular world can never understand what the religious community in Colorado Springs is doing. Alix Spiegel believed the prayers were simply a gesture of goodwill by people toward their neighbors, but soon she finds that in fact, they are something very different. Something medieval. Act Two. Kings. Scott Carrier in Salt Lake City, with a story about whether it's possible to be a good person if you're not a Christian