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What sociological perspective does Jerry Alder use in the article, "In Search of the...

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lcowan6 | Student, Undergraduate

Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM via web

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What sociological perspective does Jerry Alder use in the article, "In Search of the Spiritual"?

"In Search of the Spiritual", written by Jerry Adler

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2005/08/28/in-search-of-the-spiritual.html

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM (Answer #1)

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For Adler, the sociological condition he uses is to compare American society's view of religion in the 1960s to now.  Adler makes clear that in some respects the American sociological composition has differed greatly from the 1960s to now.  Yet, in some respects, there has not been that much difference in terms of the American societal view towards religion and spirituality:  "Of 1,004 respondents to the NEWSWEEK/Beliefnet Poll, 45 percent said they attend worship services weekly, virtually identical to the figure (44 percent) in a Gallup poll cited by Time in 1966."  Yet, Adler does use the sociological perspective of comparing different social contexts to explain how there are some differences.  He focuses on how different and divergent sections of American society have changed towards religion.  For example, Adler suggests that the African- American community in today's social setting differs in their view of the church playing a role in social advancement, part of the reason why there might be some difference in the conditions of church attendance between then and now.  Adler uses this sociological analysis of both societies, America then and America now, to examine how there are some differences in religious worship such as options and avenues to pursue.  Yet, Adler does conclude his study with the idea that while social settings might be different, the fundamental need for spiritual identity has not changed in America of then and now:

"That's when the true nature of belief comes out...Joy is appropriate to the beginnings of your faith. But sooner or later somebody will get cancer, or your best friends will betray you. That's when you will be tested."

In this concluding note, Adler makes clear that differing sociological conditions can have some level of common ground when it comes to issues of faith and spiritual identity.

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