Patients are notorious from not telling their doctors that they take herbs, do scent therapy, take homeopathy or have a chiropractor. Not to mention, that they usually hide the religious rituals they go through for healing: laying on of hand prayers, burning candles or praying to saints. Heck, your best friends may be doing things that would surprise you. People are private about their unorthodox practices.
People are generally more comfortable with inconsistent beliefs and practices than their medical or religious professionals would want them to be. “Lived Religion” is a term used to describe the actual “religion” held by real people. Lived religion contains these heterodoxical practices and beliefs.
The Lived Religion of a given person may actually have very little orthodox belief within it. It may be very dissimilar to the religion they confess. It may instead emphasize community, rituals and holidays or just be a cultural identity.
Many Christians go to fortune tellers, carry luck charms, listen to horoscopes. Besides doing things outside their orthodox religion, they may also hold heretical views: believe in reincarnation, believe in universal salvation and much more.
So when we discuss the meaning of the word “religion”, we must remember that believers are not limited by the religion they may confess — their lived religion is bigger than orthodox beliefs.
Question to Reader: Share some unorthodoxy in your life — medical, religious or otherwise. Remember, if you are religion-free, you still have the potential for unorthodoxy within your “lived religion”.
- Superstition: Gallop 1996: 25% of Americans call themselves “superstitious: 27% knock on wood, 13% avoid black cats, 12% won’t walk under ladder, 11% afraid of breaking a mirror
- Heterodoxy: Gallop 2005: 25% believe astrology, 21% believe they can communicate mentally with a dead person 21% believe in witches. 57% buy lottery tickets.