(4) God Almighty: Religious Rhetoric in Post-Religious America

Research question: How can progressive activists use religious rhetoric effectively in a post-religious America?

Here is the thesis moment/paragraph that I use in my current draft:

But America has changed, and considerably so. Millennials are far less religious than their elders. According to the Pew Forum, only 40% of millennials consider religion as important to their lives, as opposed to 65% of those beyond age 65, and 72% of those beyond age 90 (Religious Landscape Study). And by virtue of that social and demographic change, the religious rhetoric employed by such leaders as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez will not have the same impact on all Americans today as it did in the mid-20th century. However, the core tactics that these activists used to further their movements – human storytelling, references to visceral historical events, and turning religious rhetoric against conservative institutions – are still useful today, albeit in a modern, technologically relevant form.

Road map: For each of these points, I plan to reference both past tactics and why they worked as well as modern forms of those tactics and why they worked. Human storytelling (civil rights/gay marriage), historical events (women’s suffrage & civil rights/refugee ban & black lives matter), religious rhetoric against (need to still decide/gay marriage)

4 thoughts on “(4) God Almighty: Religious Rhetoric in Post-Religious America”

  1. I think your research question sounds fascinating as you point out the generational divide regarding the importance of religion. However, with a larger portion of voters in an older demographic, does religious rhetoric still shape politics even if it does not get a resounding response socially from younger generations? Otherwise, I think you give a nice roadmap regarding the main points from past and present that support your thesis with a compelling amount of complexity and cultural relevance.


  2. What an interesting direction for your RBA to be heading! Previously, I had not considered the relevance of storytelling to religious efforts, and especially not how all of these intertwine into social efforts towards progression. Were you able to find room within the scope of your paper to discuss why there is a growing disenchantment with religion among young people? Do you believe that the usual lack of social progression within major religions hinders it as something relevant to current activism, or are you arguing that the tactics employed may still be effective? Looking forward to hearing more on your project.


  3. I like what you have done with elaborating on how you will explore human storytelling. My question is, how do you plan to get the evidence for their sources? Storytelling is something that is hard to prove in the sense that it may be hard to find sources. How do you intend to gather this information?


  4. Hey Amit!
    You’re research thesis is so interesting! I believe that storytelling is a huge part of the human experience and is probably older than religion itself. Still, do you think that in the United States today there are geographical differences in the importance of religion? I’m sure the South is probably a lot more religious than the East and West Coast. I’m also curious, has there perhaps been a resurgence of religion in the US? We’re already going backwards by the state of our current government, so do you think this could also be linked to a greater trend in religious belief?


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