Sociology A2 Beliefs in Society - Topic 3: Secularisation

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  • Created on: 31-05-13 21:59
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Topic 3: Secularization
Secularisation in Britain
1851 census: over 40% attended church
Some see the 19th Century as the golden age of religion
Attendance in church has declined
Average age of attendees has increased
Greater religious diversity
Secularisation: The process whereby religious beliefs, institutions and practices have lose social
Western societies have been undergoing long term secularisation
Church attendance today
6.3% attendance
Very small proportion of children attend Sunday school
Religious beliefs today
More people claim to hold Christian beliefs than attend church
Religious belief is falling in line with attendance
Religious institutions today
State has taken over roles of the church
Influence has fallen
Explanations of secularisation
Replacement of tradition with modern thinking
Rationalisation: The process by which rational ways of thinking and acting replace religious ones
Began with the protestant reformation

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Topic 3: Secularization
Protestantism saw God as nothing more than a creator
God created the world and let it run its natural course
Religion can't explain things so rational thinking replaces it
Technological world view
Technological explanations have replaced religious ones
Technology and science have only undermined religion
Structural differentiation
Structural differentiation: The process of specialisation in an industrialised state
Specialised institutions carry out functions of the church
Leading to disengagement of religion as it becomes disconnected from society
Bruce: Religion is…read more

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Topic 3: Secularization
Cultural defence and transition
Cultural defence: Religion provides a focal point for the defence of an identity against an
external force
Cultural transition: Religion provides support for ethnic groups such as migrants
Bruce has now changed his views and now argues that diversity actually stimulates participation
Beckford: Diversity may lead to questioning of belief but it isn't inevitable
A spiritual revolution?
Traditional Christianity is being taken over by new age spirituality that emphasises personal
Heelas and Woodhead: New age…read more

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Topic 3: Secularization
Religious diversity
Church goers are less dogmatic
Bruce: Trend towards practical relativism
Criticisms of secularisation theory
Religion is changing form
Theory is one sided
Ignores those who believe without belonging
Not universal…read more


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