Cult of Materialism Exercise

a) Cult of Material Exercise: Explore Secularization as a non-religious alternative to traditional worship.

b) This activity calls for students assume the role of cultural anthropologist, for the purpose of exploring and documenting a domain

of reverence in American culture.

c) Investigate one of these areas (the mall), collect field artifacts, and complete a write-up incorporating insight gained from this

direct field observation.

d) What do we worship in addition to, or in place of God, religious principles, and/or sustaining philosophies?

e) Ponder the question: “Should we consider ourselves liberated or vulnerable without the influence of religion in our lives”?

Theologian/sociologists Paul Ricoeur and Harvey Cox explore this emancipation from an integrated religious context to promotion of the

“Secular City”.

f) Questions to consider in this paper:

1. How does the mall environment attempt to mirror or replicate religious experience? For example, Victoria’s Secret runway models have

been portrayed as “angels”. What is the significance of this strategy?

2. How does the mall attempt to mirror a church environment? Consider architecture and aesthetics (perhaps fengshui).

3. How do marketing strategists and the media conspire to promote the secularization of religious experience? Collect at least one

artifact that attests to this practice.“I collected a picture of a Victoria Secret Ad they had in the store, portraying THE PERFECT BODY”.
I chose this ad because of the way they use the so called “perfect Body” to prey on young ladies and girls’ desire to meet the social


Reference artifacts collected during this field exercise, and attach them to your narrative response paper, as well as incorporate relevant

readings from Pojman/Rea.

4. How does the hedonistic paradox factor into worship at the mall church?

5. What insight can be gathered from this field experience and applied to transforming the religious experience into something more vital

in a contemporary context?

g) Minimum of 750 words.