Cultural Muslims: Background Forces and Factors Influencing Everyday Religiosity of Muslim People

Selman YILMAZ
2014 Tarih Kültür ve Sanat Araştırmaları Dergisi  
Most observers of the science of religion define Islam as a monolithic religion. Some people pinpoint a cultural practice from a Muslim-majority country and generalize it as a practice of all Muslims around the world by assuming that Islam is a monolithic religion. In fact, Islam never meant the same thing to all Muslims. While the majority of Muslims agree on the core tenets of Islam, Muslims across the world differ significantly in their levels of religious commitment and openness to multiple
more » ... penness to multiple interpretations of their faith. In addition, fluctuation on the core tenets of Islam among Muslim majority countries suggest that some Muslims make religion a part of their cultural life and practice religion as a cultural habit. There are many points that cultural and religious practices are mixed. This study helps to acknowledge the relationship between regional culture and religious culture, and background reasons of common everyday activities of Muslim people. This study examines background reasons of common everyday activities of Muslim people as well as the relationship between regional culture and religious culture. Everyday religion, popular religion, folk religion, unofficial religion, lived religion, common religion, religious populism and some other concepts such as implicit religion, as approached by Bailey, invisible religion, by Luckmann, and civil religion, by Bellah-all of these terms point to a dimension of religious life that suggests a differentiation between the religion of ordinary people and the religion of theologians, reverends, and other religious professionals. Official religion tends to be the religion of elite, those who exercise effective power and therefore dominate a society. These groups hold religious institutions like mosques, churches, synagogues, temples, and councils and effectively determine what religion actually is (Lippy, 1994: 1-5). On the other hand, popular religion reflects the lived and unstructured religion of ordinary people and is term that has developed mainly in contrast to institutionalized, established, and official religion. Nevertheless, restricting its reference purely to vulgar, superstitious, irrational, and retrograde is unfair (Possamai 2011: 249). Therefore, popular religion is not an alternative, opposite, parallel, or independent religion of the official religion (Zaccaria, 2010: 5; McGuire 2008: 45). It represents religion's ongoing and dynamic relationship with the realities of everyday life (Orsi, 1997: 7). Religion is not for scholars only. It is something to live by and die by (Corn, 1942: 77). Since many academic disciplines, including social sciences (anthropology, psychology, sociology), religious studies (historical, comparative), and theology, contributed understanding of popular religion, examples of terminological disagreements increase (Zaccaria, 2010: 3). According to Bruce David Forbes, there are at least four different relationships between religion and popular culture: 1. Religion in popular culture, 2. Popular culture in religion, 3. Popular culture as religion, and 4. Religion and popular culture in dialogue (Forbes, 2000: 10; also see Chidester, 2005: 30-51). Religion in popular culture refers to the appearance, explicitly or implicitly, of religious themes, language, imagery, and subject matter in elements of popular culture (e.g. themes in
doi:10.7596/taksad.v3i3.360 fatcat:nyyvafl2ubdt3lijb25lv36rne