NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Religion as entertainment and pastime

Kennet Granholm, University of Amsterdam

Religious philosophies, practices and institutions have experienced great transformations in urban Western societies since the mid 20th century. Overall, traditional religious institutions have lost societal influence, and religious matters have become more individualized. In conjunction with these developments religion has also become an arena of individual entertainment and pastime interests. Treatment of religious and spiritual matters is on the increase in popular culture, and people increasingly invest in religious practices and philosophies on a more casual base. For example, purportedly non-religious individuals can practice yoga, go to church concerts, and study ancient mythologies without letting this involvement influence their daily lives to any greater degree. It can, however, be assumed that this non-religious dabbling with religious matters will have some affect on the individual. It will also most likely affect the religious philosophies and practices concerned.

The individual papers in the session will treat instances where religion is used as entertainment and pastime. Some possible areas of treatment include, but are not limited to, the use of religious themes in popular culture, the change of religion due to capitalism, and the creation of religious pastime.