Postmodernity and religion

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  • Postmodernity and religion
    • Believing without belonging (BWB)
      • Davie - religion is not declining but taking a differentm more privatised form.
        • People don't go to church because they have to, it's now a personal choice rather than an obligation.
      • Believing without belonging - holding religious beliefs but not attending church.
      • A trend towards 'vicarious religion' where a small number of professional clergy practise religion on behalf of a much larger number of people, who experience it second hand.
        • E.g. Britain, despite low levels of attendence, many use the church for rites of passage.
      • Davie sees this as evidence for BWB as people are drawn to the church in times of tragedy as it provides ritual and support.
        • Rejects the secularisation theory assumption that modernisation affects every society, as there are multiple modernities, as Britain and America have difference patterns of religion.
      • Criticisms
        • Voas and Crcckett - surveys from 1983-2000 shows both church attendance and belief in God is declining.
        • Bruce - if people don't invest time in church then this relfects the declining strength of their belief.
    • Spiritual shopping
      • Hervieu-Leger - cultural amnesia (loss of collective memory) - children used to be taught religion and parish church, but now parents let them decide what to believe in and few teach them.
      • Individual consumerism has replaced colletive tradition as people feel they have a choice = spiritual shopping.
      • Argues two new religious types are emerging: pilgrims ( a path of self dscovery and coverts (join religious groups that offer a strong sense of belonging.
      • Religion not longer acts as a source of collective identity, but continues to have an influence over society's values eg. equality.
        • Shows late modernity trends have accelerated which explains the weakening of traditional institutions and the growing importance of individual choice.
    • Lyon: 'Jesus in Disneyland'
      • Lyon - argues that traditional religion is creating a variety of new relgious beliefs that demonstrate its continuing strength.
      • Globalistion - the growing inter-connectedness of society which increases ideas and beliefs across national boundaries
        • Through media/technology where these ideas have become dis-embedded e.g.. electronic church and televangelism.
      • Jesus in 'Disneyland' Harvest Day Crusade not held in a church, boundaries between different areas of social life become blurred in post-modern society.
      • Consumerism - become religious consumers, making conscious choices about what parts of religion they find useful.
        • Led to a loss of faith of meta-narratives - views that claim to have the authoritative truth which weakens traditional beliefs and making people sceptical if any are true.
      • Lyon disagrees that religion is being replaced by rational thinking, instead sees there is a period of re-enchantment with the growth of unconventional beliefs, practices and spirituality.
      • Criticisms
        • Postmodernists see religious media as aganist secularisation, but research shows ppeople choose to view programmes that confirm their existing beliefs.
        • Lyon puts forward electronic church as a measure of secularisation but it is not based on extensive evidence.


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