Secularisation

Lucy Rutherford
Mind Map by Lucy Rutherford, updated more than 1 year ago
Lucy Rutherford
Created by Lucy Rutherford over 6 years ago
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Mind Map on Secularisation, created by Lucy Rutherford on 04/30/2015.

Resource summary

Secularisation
  1. In Britain
    1. Crockett - in 1851 40% or more of the adult population in the UK attended church on a Sunday, making the 19th Century the "golden age" of religiosity
      1. Wilson - argues that Western societies have been undergoing a long term process of secularisation. Religious beliefs, practices and institutions have lost social significance. Demonstrated by the increase n the average age of church goers and increase in religious diversity
        1. In 2005 only 6.3% of the adult population attended a Sunday service,1/2 the number attending in 1960's. With membership to the C of E and Catholic church having declined, along with Baptism's of children falling from 55% to 41% between 1991-2005
          1. Gill - reviewed 100 national surveys on religious beliefs which showed a significant decline in the belief of a personal God, in Jesus as the son of God and traditional teachings about the afterlife.

            Annotations:

            • Also more people claim to have Christian beliefs than they actually do. 
            1. Religious Institutions have declined because - the state has taken over many of the functions that the church used to perform, meaning religion has been relegated to the private sphere the family. - used to be faith schools supplying education, but are now state funded and have to comply with the National Curriculum. - Fall in the number of clergy from 45,00 in 1900 to 34,00 in 2000. A lack of clergy in local communities means the day to day influence of the church is reduced
              1. Bruce concludes by agreeing with Wilson that all evidence of secularisation has shown a "steady unremitting decline." If current trends continue the Methodist Church will fold by 2030 and the C of E will be merely a small voluntary organisation
            2. In the USA
              1. Wilson - found that 45% of Americans attend church on Sundays because it was an expression of their way of life rather than for religious beliefs. Religion has become superficial making America a secular society

                Annotations:

                • Religion has become superficial making America a secular society 
                1. Declining Church Attendance - opinion polls greatly exaggerate church attendance when compared to ceremony head counts. Hadaway found in a county in Ohio the opionon polls claimed attendance to be 83% higher than the number of people actually going to church. This exaggeration is a recent development as people see church attendance as socially desirable
                  1. Secularisation from Within - less emphasis placed on traditional christian beliefs which glorify God. Religion has become "psychologised" into a form of therapy. Evident in the change of attitudes among church goers, most now seek personal improvement rather than salvation. In 1951 98% of young American Evangelical Christians believed drinking alcohol was wrong, this drastically dropped to just 17% in 1982. Therefore religion has remained popular by becoming less religious
                    1. Religious Diversity - there is now practical relativism among American Christians, they now accept that othres are now entitled to hold beliefs which are different to their own. Lynd and Lynd noted that in 1924 94% of young people attending church agreed with the statement "Christianity is the one true religion" however in 1977 only 41% agreed. This has lead to "the erosion of absolutism" because the society we now live contains a variety of beliefs, our assumption that our own views are superior has been undermined
                      1. Criticisms - religion is not declining it is merely changing its form. A one sided view point as it ignores the growth of new religions and the evidence of falling attendance does not include those that believe without belonging. Secularisation theory is not universal as religion has declined in Europe but not in America or globally. The future is not an "age of atheism" in the same way the past was not the "golden age of faith." Whilst religious diversity increases participation as it offers choice,
                    2. Criticised with Postmodernism, isn't just fewer people believing but different types of believers
                      1. Explanations of Secularisation
                        1. Rationalisation
                          1. Weber - refers to the process in which rational ways of acting and thinking replace religious ones. Western society underwent this process during the 16th Century, Protestant Reformation meant a modern scientific outlook replaced the religious worldview of the Middle Ages. This created "disenchatment" as God existed above and outside the world. The laws of nature governed the world, God did not intervene with his creation. The religious explanation was no longer needed as we had reason and science. This gave humans more power to control nature which meant the religious worldview continued to be weakened.
                            1. Bruce elaborates further by explaining how the technological worldview has largely replaced religious explanations of WHY things happen. Only survive in places with limited technology E.G 3rd world contries which have poor medical care, this results in many people praying to cure them of their incurable illness
                          2. Religious Diversity
                            1. Berger - religious beliefs have declined because of their increased diversity. In the Middle Ages the Catholic Church had religious monopoly with no challengers, but the Protestant Reformation meant the number and variety of religious beliefs increased. Each of these had a different version of the truth which undermined the "plausibility structure" of religion. As its believability was compromised a crisis of credibility was created. For Bruce this is the most important cause of seculariation as people are uneasy living in a world which offers numerous incompatible beliefs, the only logical solution is reject them all as untrue
                            2. Structural Differentiation
                              1. Parsons - structural differentiation is a process that occurs adjacent to industrialisation, many specialised institutions have developed to carry out the functions previously performed by one single institution (the church).
                                1. Bruce - Religion has become separated from wider society being privatised into the home and family. Beliefs are now a matter of personal choice as rituals and symbols have lost meaning. The Church and the State are separate in modern society so Church looses influence and political power to decided which sanctions it conforms to or not E.G Churches are not required to pay tax
                              2. Social and Cultural Diversity
                                1. Wilson - in pre-industrial societies local communities shared religious rituals which expressed shared values, but industrialisation destroyed these communities. It destroyed religion's foundations as the increasing social and geographical mobility created large, impersonal, loose knit urban centers with diverse beliefs values and lifestyles. Undermines the believability of religion because the rise of individualism leads to a decline in community based religious beliefs
                                2. Spiritual Revolution
                                  1. Heelas and Woodhead - traditional christianity is giving way to New Age spirituality which emphasises personal development and experience . Demonstrated by the large number of self help books, spirituality courses and therapies available to people (mediation). Conducted a study and distinguished between - congregational domain of traditional Christian churches or holistic milieu of spirituality and New Age. Findings indicated that in a typical week 7.9% of the population attended church whilst only 1.6% participated in any spiritual activities.
                                    1. Explained these trends in terms of 1) Spirituality has grown because of a massive "subjective turn" in today's culture with a shift towards exploring your inner self by following a spiritual path, therefore traditional churches which demand duty and obedience are declining. 2) Evangelical Churches which place an emphasis on subjective aspects E.G spirtiaul healing and growth through "born again" experiences are more likely to be successful than traditional Churches. 3) Those within this spiritual marketplace thrive when personal experience is their only source of meaning and fulfilment, not when teachings and commandments govern there lives
                                      1. Religion Vs Spirituality
                                        1. Life as a duty Self sacrifice Conforming with external authority Employment is a service to an organisation Deference
                                          1. Life as a discovery Personal development Connecting with inner self Employment is for personal growth Autonomy
                                      2. Cultural Defence and Cultural Transition
                                        1. Cultural Transition
                                          1. A sense of community for ethnic groups living in a different country or culture
                                          2. Cultural Defence
                                            1. Provides a focal point for the defence of national or ethnic identity when threatened by an external force
                                            2. religion survives in such situations because it acts as a focal point for group identity. C/D and C/T doesn't disprove secularisation theory, but shows that religion survies when it performs other functions. Is not just about relating an individual to a supernatural belief
                                              1. Evidence comes from the decline in church attendance after the fall of communsim in Poland, and the fact that religion loses importance for migrants once they have been intergrated into society
                                                1. Criticisms
                                                  1. Berger - diversity and choice actually stimulates interest and participation in religion. Beckford - agrees that religious diversity will lead some to question or abandon their beliefs, but by having opposing views a religious group's commitment to their existing beliefs maybe strengthened
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