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Preview of Secularization

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1. Disengagement of religious churches
Bruce focuses on the "Secular West", claiming that Church was once at
the centre of social and political life but during the 20th century it had
withdrawn almost completely.
I. Modern social life has ceased to be community based people lives
are dominated by large bureaucracies.
II. Urban lifestyles are impersonal and people are isolated from
extended kin and neighbours.
These undermine religion in three ways....
I. Impact of science, media and culture diversity means that
people's religious belief are less certain, alternative lifestyle
choices e.g. Consumerism
II. Modern urban society offers a greater choice of personal
services, reducing people use or turn to priest for help on things
III. A lack of sense of community, Churches can no longer serve as
focal point for communities.
× Church of England still makes a significant contribution to political
debate. The church may have lost influence but this maybe due to
supporting causes unpopular with governments in power.
× Mass Media still consider religious matters as important e.g
Coverage of the debate about homosexual bishops and women

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Religious Pluralism
Wilson discusses about religious pluralism. Historically religion was monolithic; most
societies were dominated by 1 religious world view which had a monopoly over
religious practices and beliefs.
He claims that a major symptom of secularization has been the breaking of
monolithic religion, into a set of competing beliefs i.e. religious pluralism. Wilson is
critical of the emergence of the ecumenical movement e.g. United Reformed Church.…read more

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Postmodernist, claim that society is experiencing a crisis of meaning. This is
due to the dissatisfaction with materialism, therefore seeking to re-discover
their spirituality....Resulting in an increase of new age religions, sects, cults
and quasi-religion.
5. Secularization in the USA and Globally
Many sociologists have suggested that the USA may be the exception
to the role of secularization in the West e.g. Surveys conducted over the
past 50 years indicate a consistently high level of belief in God.…read more


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