Assess the nature of secularisation

For example the church as lost influence on education, social welfare and the law. At the most basic stages, this begins with a slow transition from oral traditions to a writing culture that diffuses knowledge. But this all changed with the protestant reformation.

All this simply means that the pursuit of wealth or power or simply the competition for survival can be and often has been ruthless without any sense of restraint. Religious beliefs are largely a matter of personal choice and religious institutions have lost much of their influence on wider society and in a result traditional rituals and symbols have lost meaning. As a commercial enterprise televangelism responded to consumer demand by preaching a prosperity gospel. Thus traditional symbols and rituals have lost meaning. Thus Davie argues the decline of traditional religion is met by the growth of new forms of religion. However he criticises them. Some sociologists argue that a spiritual revolution is taking place today, where traditional Christianity is giving way to holistic spirituality or new age beliefs and practices that emphasise personal development and subjective experience. Diversity of occupations, cultures and lifestyles undermine religion. However nowadays we have lost the religion that used to be handed down from generation to generation as fewer parents teach their children about religion. Bruce concludes that although scientific explanations do not challenge religion directly they have greatly reduced the scope for religious explanations. When there are alternative versions of the truth available, people question all of them and this erodes the certainties of traditional religion. Bruce agrees religion has become separated from wider society and has lost many of its former functions. It squeezed out magical and religious ways of thinking and starts of the rationalisation process that lead to the dominance of rational mode of thought.

Japans experiences contrast to post war Germany where religion was controlled by the state and as a result declined. In conclusion there is significant evidence that show the secularisation is happening in society today. In rich societies people have high standards of living and are less at risk, thus they have a greater sense of security and thus lower levels of religiosity.

One affect of having a variety of religious products is the loss of faith in metanarratives; theories claiming the absolute truth which involve traditional religions.

Examples are evangelical churches and churches of ethnic minorities.

Secularization in society today

Until Shintoism was the state religion and other religions were suppressed. The fact that religion has lost its functions to wider society this shows that the level of secularisation is increasing in society today. This understanding of secularization is also distinct from 1 above in that it refers specifically to religious decline rather than societal differentiation. Proponents of "secularization theory" demonstrate widespread declines in the prevalence of religious belief throughout the West, particularly in Europe. There is no reliable measurement of church attendance. He also points out that Pentecostal and other religious groups often flourish in impersonal urban areas. For example they had service at Methodist but took their children to Baptist for Sunday school.

The issue of secularization is discussed in various religious traditions. Instead individual consumerism has replaced collective religion. Also some religious communities are imagined communities that interact through the use of global media.

secularisation debate
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