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SECULARISATION IN AMERICA
Wilson
· In 1962. found that 42% of American attended church on Sundays
· He argued that churchgoing in America was more an expression of
the `American way of life'
· American is a secular society because religion has become
superficial
Bruce
· Supports Wilson's claim
· He uses three sources of evidence to support this claim; declining
church attendance, secularisation from within and a trend towards
religious diversity & relativism…read more

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DECLINING CHURCH ATTENDANCE
Hadaway:
· An opinion poll stated that about 40% of the population since 1940
had attended church
· He found that this figure did not match the churches' own
attendance statistics
· They conducted a study and found that the level of attendance
claimed by interviewees was 83% higher than their estimates of
church attendance in the country
· This trend of exaggerate churchgoing is recent; A study of
attendance at Catholic mass in San Francisco in 1996 found that the
exaggeration was 101%, compared to 47% in 1972
Bruce:
· The widening gap may be due to the fact that it is still seen as
socially desirable to go to church…read more

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SECULARISATION FROM WITHIN: BRUCE
· The way American religion has adjusted to the modern world
amounts to secularisation from within
· Religion has become `psychologised' or turned into a form of
therapy
· American religion has remained popular by becoming less
religious
· The purpose of religion has changed from seeking salvation to
seeking personal improvement
· This decline in commitment to tradition belief can be see in the
change of lifestyles
1951 1982 % agreeing that
Smoking 93 51 the following
are morally
Drinking alcohol 98 17 wrong
Pre-martial sex 94 89…read more

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RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY: BRUCE
· Churchgoers are becoming less dogmatic in their views
· Identifies a trend towards practical relativism; acceptance of the
view that people have different beliefs
· Lynd & Lynd: In 1924 94% agreed with that statement `Christianity
is the one true religion and all people should be concerted to it; by
19877 only 41% of people believed
· The counterpart is the erosion of absolutism; we now live in a
society where many people hold views completely different to ours
· This undermines our assumption that our own views are absolute…read more

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CRITICISMS OF SECULARISATION THEORY
· Religion is not declining but simply changing its form
· Secularisation theory is one-sides
· Only focuses on decline and ignores religious revivals and the
growth of new religions
· Evidence of falling church attendance ignores those who believe
and attend
· Religion may have declined in Europe and America but not
globally
· The past was not a `golden age' of faith from which we have
declined
· Religious diversity increases participation because it offers a choice…read more

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