Secularisation in the USA

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  • Created by: Tamara
  • Created on: 10-01-13 21:56
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  • Secularisation in the USA
    • Declining church attendance
      • Opinion polls found that church attendance had been constant at 40% since 1940. However this figure may have been exaggerated.
      • Hadawy er al found that in one county ohio the attendance level claimed in opinion polls was 83% higher than researchers actually counted going into church.
      • Evidence suggests that this tendency to exaggerate churchgoing is a recent development
      • Hadaway shows the problem of simply asking people whether they attend church. The 40% rate of self reported attendance masks a decline in a ctual attendance in the USA. because many people who have stopped going will still say they attend if asked.
    • Secularisation from within
      • Bruce argues that america emphasis on traditional christian beliefs and glorifying god has declined. Instead religion has become psychologised- a form of therapy.
      • American religion has declined popular by becoming less religious- it has become secularised from within. Its purpose has changed from seeking salvation in heaven to seeking personal improvement in this world.
    • Religious diversity and relativism:
      • Bruce identifies practical relativism among american christians- accepting that others are entilted to hold beliefs different to one's own.
      • Lynd and Lynd (1929) found that in 1924 94% of churchgoing young people agreed with the statement "christianity is the one true religion". By 1977 only 41% agreed.
      • Absolutism has been eroded- we now live in a society where many people hold views that are completely different to ours. Undermining our assumption that our own views are absolutely true.
      • Link Berger's ideas about diversity undermining religion's plausibility structure to this argument.


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