Paper 1 SA Religious Believer v Atheist - \u201cI\u2019m just like You I just don\u2019t waste my time praying:\u201d An Analysis of a Spiritual and an Atheist

Paper 1 SA Religious Believer v Atheist -...

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“I’m just like You, I just don’t waste my time praying:” An Analysis of a Spiritual and an Atheist Identity SA Sociology 150 Group 1 October 14, 2013
SA Sociology 150 Group 1 October 14, 2013 “I’m just like You, I just don’t waste my time praying:” An Analysis of a Spiritual and an Atheist Identity The social origin of [self] comes by the pathway of intercourse with other persons (Charles Cooley, 1983, p. 126). Introduction Identities are formed and influenced through social interactions such as the use of language. I was born into the Christian Pentecostal religion, so throughout my life I can recall interacting with others through religious activities within a church. Berger states (1996), “to be given an identity involves being assigned a specific place in the world” (p. 190). Because of my family, I was socialized into Christianity. In fact, I am certain that my behaviors and perceptions revolved around my spiritual identity, which is defining myself as a Christian woman. This identity is constantly reinforced and shaped by some of my acquired reference groups and significant others within the church. Thus, the church is a social space that influences my spiritual identity by providing me with a peer group, a space to pray/worship, and norms to tailor my behavior to fit with this identity. On the other hand, my informant Nel identifies as an atheist. He defines himself as having “zero spirituality” and disbelief of the existence of a creator. He clearly describes that this identity initiated because of his interactions with Christians and
analysis of religion. In other words, my Christian brethren and the church serve to uplift my spiritual identity, while for Nel this social space has “strengthen his passion for atheism.” Although we are both Latinos, live in the same neighborhood, and have the same age, Nel’s atheist identity causes him to acquired different views of life completely different from mines. By examining the commonalities and variations of my informant Nel and my experiences in the shaping of our different identities, I seek to illustrate how symbolic interactions, significant others, and other social factors affect our different identities, which shape our behaviors and perceptions. Using scholarly readings, I intend to describe the ways our different identities were acquired, learned, adapted to, assimilated to the self, and used in making consequential social bonds. This paper addresses the impact and influences various social factors have on the socialization of the individual by analyzing two distinct identities. The Acquisition I was naturally predisposed to a Christian identity because my family embedded religious values and rituals into my socialization, but Nel was not born into any religion and his family was not religious. Nel explains, “Religion was not important to my parents, they didn’t care much for it, they believed in a god and told me and my sister to behave because he was watching us, but that wasn’t their focus.” Because his parents were not firm believers or part of any

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