Johnstone in his book “Religion in a Society: A Sociology of Religion” become something of an eye opener and educational primer on the true concept and basis of religion.
As a child, I did not have any real concept of the meaning of religion because to me, it simply meant a day out with my parents, dressed in my Sunday best and playing with other children at this place where our parents would sing very loudly, sit down, and listen to somebody who was reading from a book and then talking to them about what he just read. But none of the parents ever bothered to talk back to the man on the stage. They just seemed to enjoy the things that he was saying at the time.
After that, the folks at the building would sometimes join my parents and I for a big lunch at some restaurant where they would have animated discussions about things that my young mind could not yet fully understand. Little did I know that the things I was experiencing would lay the solid foundation and groundwork for my participation in the religion as a group member. As far as I was concerned, I was just being an ordinary kid playing around with other kids my age.
As Johnstone explains the concept of religion as a group phenomenon I am able to now associate the connection between religion and sociology. I now clearly understand the concept of a group “phenomenon” as it applies to a religious setting. My thoughts as an early group member of a religious organization led me to believe that our church was special in a way because everyone who was a member of the church seemed to be an extra special kind of person who had something unique and important to offer to our religious group.
Slowly, as the concepts and theories of the group phenomenon were explained to me throughout the semester, I came to understand more and more about how the group concept applies to religion and why it seems to continue to thrive even in this day and age of multimedia