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Crockett estimates that in that year, 40% or more of the adult population of Britain
attended church on Sundays ­ based on evidence from the 1851 Census.
There have been some major changes in religion in the UK since then:
- A decline in the proportion of the population going to church.
- An increase in the average age of churchgoers.
- Fewer baptisms and church weddings.
- A decline in the numbers holding traditional Christian beliefs.
- Greater religious diversity, including more non-Christian religions.
Wilson argued that Western societies had been undergoing a long-term process of
secularisation. He defined secularisation as "the process whereby religious beliefs, practices
and institutions lose social significance".
Church attendance today
Only 6.3% of the adult population attended church on Sundays in 2005. Therefore
churchgoing has fallen and is estimated to fall to 4.7% by 2015. Sunday school attendance
has also declined further and only a tiny proportion of children now attend.
Church weddings and baptisms remain more popular than attendance at Sunday services;
here too the trend is falling. In 1971, 3/5's of weddings were in church, but by 2006 the
proportion was only 1/3. Similarly, baptisms of children fell from 55% in 1991 to 41% in 2005.
Religious beliefs today
More people claim that they hold Christian beliefs than actually belong to or go to
Religious belief is declining in line with the decline in church attendance and
For example, Gill et al reviewed almost 100 national surveys on religious belief from 1939
to 1996. They show a significant decline in belief in a personal god, in Jesus as the son of
God, and in traditional teachings about the afterlife and the Bible. When asked, "Would you
describe yourself as being of any religion or denomination?" only 23% replied "no" in 1950,
but by 1996 this had increases to 43%.

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Religious institutions today
The state has taken over many of the functions that church used to perform. Thus, whereas
religion once pervaded every aspect of life, it has increasingly been relegated to the private
sphere of the individual and the family.
For example, until the mid-19th century, the churches provided education, but since then it
has been provided mainly by the state. Although there are still "faith schools", these are
mainly state-funded and must conform to the state's regulations, such as teaching the
National Curriculum.…read more

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For Weber, the medieval Catholic worldview that dominated Europe saw the world as an
"enchanted garden". God and other spiritual beings and forces, such as angels, the devil and
so on, were believed to be present and active in this world, changing the course of events
through their supernatural powers and miraculous interventions in it.
However, the Protestant Reformation brought a new worldview. Instead of the
interventionist God as transcendent ­ as existing above and beyond, or outside, this world.…read more

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Religious beliefs are now largely a matter of personal choice and religious
institutions have lost their influence on society. Even where religion continues to perform
functions such as education or social welfare, it must conform to the requirements of the
secular state.
Social and cultural diversity
Wilson argues that in pre-industrial communities, shared values were expressed through
collective religious rituals that integrated individuals and regulated their behaviour.
Bruce sees industrialisation as undermining the consensus of religious beliefs that hold
small rural communities together.…read more

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Society is no longer unified under the single sacred canopy created by one church, instead
religious diversity creates a plurality of life worlds, where people's perceptions of the world
vary and where there are different interpretations of the truth
Berger argues that this creates a crisis of credibility for religion. Diversity undermines
religion's "plausibility structure" ­ the reasons why people find it believable.…read more

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The congregational domain of the traditional and evangelical Christianity.
- The holistic milieu of spirituality and the New Age.
New Age spirituality has grown because of a massive subjective turn in today's
Traditional religions, which demand duty and obedience, are declining.
" Religion that tells you what to believe and how to behave is out of tune with a
culture which believes it is up to us to seek out answers for ourselves" ­ Heelas &
Woodhead.…read more

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For example, a study of attendance at Catholic mass in San Francisco found
that in 1972, opinion polls exaggerated attendance by 47% but by 1996, the exaggeration
had doubled to 101%.
Bruce concludes that a stable rate of self-reported attendance of about 40% has masked a
decline in actual attendance in USA.
Secularisation from within
Bruce argues that the emphasis on traditional Christian beliefs and glorifying God has
declined and religion in USA has become "psychologised" or turned into a form of therapy.…read more

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A great summary of secularisation which is extensive and very detailed. This is a great revision source for that topic which is great for those who like concise information. The information can be transferred onto flashcards and mind map easily.

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