Faith and Modernity

  • Created by: KDallers-
  • Created on: 17-06-19 17:25

Intro to Secularisation

An enlightenment concept which transformed religion - while the Enlightenment did not seek to DISPROVE RELIGION, rationalism and capitalism undermined and 'liberated' groups from religion (Berger) 

- Key questions: what was secularised during this period? Was it the state? Employment? Family? Did "religion stop at the factory gates" - SECULARISATION essentially proposes that the 'upper world' of God that religion claims DOES NOT EXIST - the 'real world' only (Schluchter)

- What is religion? A 'world forming action' containing SACRED and SUPERPOWERS that exist ABOVE the 'real world' - a 'religious association' acts as our connection between the REAL and UPPER world (Weber)

- SECULARISATION - modernity has promoted RATIONALISM, and this has undermined the 'upper world', meaning people have become disenchanted with religion (Weber)

TWO KEY AREAS of undermining (Schluchter) - 1) subjectivity of religion; 2) depoliticisation of religion - has occurred through INTELLECTUAL, EXPERIENTIAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC-POLITICAL REASONS

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Intellectual Reasons

Secularism has 'naturalised religion', but change the BASIS of religion - it is DEIST in that it claims there is NO SUPERNATURAL element to God, and no transcendent power (Metz; Weber) - God exists as a rational being; can non longer 'transfuse all of mankind' as religion loses POLITICAL AUTHORITY - an overthrowing of the traditional, medieval, religious society

David Strauss, Life of Jesus - argued that Jesus was simply a human with no divine quality; no Son of God element - all of this was a social creation - view supported by Feuerbach and Renan

Kautsky - argued that there was NO MATERIAL REASONING FOR RELIGION (Marxist belief) - this had to exist for religion to be proven; WALTER JAMES - argued that the SUPERNATURAL was more of a psychological issue - people with deficiencies believed in the supernatural

SCIENCE - Lamarck's first evolutionary theory 1800, and the legitimacy of fossils by Lyell - discoveries which challenge CREATIONISM and promote evolution; - DARWIN - evolutionary discovery on HMS Beagle based on adaptations - this was SO SHOCKING for religion that Darwin had to claim this was only about animals first - powerful

LATER - physics, genetics (Skinner), Einstein - all suggested there was no 'illuminating God' which dominated the world - we could NOW CONTROL MORE OF THE WORLD (Lubbe)

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Experiential Reasons and how this operates today

Society is now more specialised and functionalised due to LIBERAL INDIVIDUALISM - no more social whole, less basis for RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY - Jellinek - argument that we live in 'free states' that are 'emancipated' from religion - this is DEPOLITICISED and now a PRIVATE ISSUE

- GLOBAL EVENTS - challenges the existence of God - natural disasaters like the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami - with such death and destruction in this, and in war, genocide, Holocaust, nucelar weaponry - suggests there is no real omnibenevolent being; NIETZSCHE - 'God is dead... and we have killed him'; humans have destroyed the 'almightiest concept' throug hteir actions

- Mayer; 'Why did the Heavens not Darken?" and Arnold's Dover Beach poem of 'faith disapperaing' - a world with no belief exists due to these experiential reasons - Dostoevsky and Ivan Karamazov

- 3 TYPES OF RELIGION: 1) Spiritual; 2) Charity and 3) Theology - there is now no great UNIFYING FACTOR that makes religion so dominant within the state apparatus and society as it was before - now FRAGMENTED and PLURALISED

- Sartre - existentialism - why live? No longer for RELIGIOUS REASONS

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Socio-Economic-Political Reasons

We live in a comfortable time where we no longer turn to God - turn to science, consumerism instead; there is less attendance of religious events, more privatisation and depoliticisation - there is NO LONGER an automatic monopoly for religion

- ECONOMICS - industrialism was linked to the 'science of production', and now people were looking at science, religion seemed backwards - "stops at the factory gates"; RELIGION now needed to adapt and become more BUREAUCRATIC and about CONSUMER DEMAND - it was seen as anachronistic and uninspiring of any form of allegiance

- The only sphere religion existed in was in FAMILY and SOCIETY - no longer economic as Smith suggested with the 'invisible hand' - privatised and personalised - Church less important

- POLITICS - religion seen as uncommon as it became more personalised - religion is not a political concept anymore (Theresa May - religious, yet not involved); there is greater pluralism and tolerance today, meaning that RELIGION has become more BUSINESSLIKE

- RELIGION AS BUSINESS - now has to market itself due to secularisation - now a rational and bureaucratic organisation with no spiritual element; all about PR, fundraising, lobbying, business strategies - like Jehova's Witnesses - more 'psychological characteristics' of religion (Berger)

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Religious Revival?

Over last 200 years - has become MORE central? 54% men athiest, but only 34% of women - many see religion as a force for good (39% Christianity) - so no dead? Revival with FUNDAMENTALISM - proposing supernaturalism, literal interpretation of Scripture and creation

ASKS QUESTIONS OF SECULARISM - how religious were people in the first place (did they need to be liberated from religion - Callum Brown)? Religions are still the largest forms of human social organisation; what about the prestige that religion holds? Scientists are still religious - if they 'DISPROVE' religion, why are they religious? The link between USA and religion

People still turn to religion in their times of need - ie getting married, funerals etc; however, some, like Salman Rushdie, see religion as a 'FORM OF UNREASON' which threatens freedom

McDade - the bond between religion and reason can be strengthened, rather than just branding all religion as unreasonable (as Rushdie does)

- However, what has the RESPONSE OF RELIGION BEEN? Ferment (examples of religion still existing); however, FUNDAMENTALISM, or ADAPTATION (as McDade suggests)?

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Religious Ferment, Cultism

Break from feudalism - E.P Thompson saw anti-capitalist protests rising; the response was RELIGIOUS REVIVAL - Marx saw religion as "the opium of the people", and secularism as ELITIST - therefore, religion was back on the rise

- Examples of revival - Muggletonians, Mormons in 1820s, growth of Christian MISSIONARIES in places like Lourdes, Portugal and Medjugorje in Bosnia - visions of Virgin Mary

- Religious pilgrimages still take place, and many are the LARGEST GATHERINGS OF HUMANITY EVER - for example, the Hajj to Mecca, or the Kumbh Mela of Hindus - this is argued to be the largest gathering of all humans - RELIGION STILL IMPORTANT

CULTISM - this was opposed to the Enlightenment, as it believes in SPIRITUAL RELIGION as opposed to 'rationalism' - began in the 1960s with hippies like the Beatles

- Charles Manson cult - murder of Sharon Tate in Pacific Palisades, CA - saw Manson as spiritual leader; same with suicide in Jonestown, Guyana following FBI investigation, and the HEAVEN'S GATE CULT and the Hale-Bopp comet UFO; people always discussing the spiritual 'end of the world' as well; this is the RISE OF THE IRRATIONAL

- ORANGE PEOPLE - Sree Ranjeesh in Antelope, OR taking over - 300k followers - IRRATIONAL

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Fundamentalism in Britain + Christianity

Fundamentalism - about REASSERTING the truths of religion and resisting secularisation - was popular in the 1860s-1890s in Britain - more 'conservative' than in the USA (Marsden)

- Belief in gradual change due to the culture of toleration in the UK (Glover) - was not a militant fundamentalist movement as in America, bar a few examples; WHY? as Britain had a more COHERENT INTELLECTUAL FRAMEWORK

- Keswick Convention 1875 - more aggressive - belief in literal interpretation of Scripture, anti-liberalism; developed with the 1928 Inter-Varsity Fellowship and 1922 Church Missionary Society - this was led by Dixon and Poole-Connor; most militant were the PLYMOUTH BRETHREN - however, this had LITTLE IMPACT

CATHOLIC FUNDAMENTALISM - Pope Pius IX in 1860s - argued that God would bring prosperity, and he attacked ALL MATERIALIST IDEOLOGY - led to Doctrine of Papal Infallibility; also, rise of French fascism 1920s linked to this; LEO XII - proclaimed the existence of the spiritual, and was anti-material and anti-rational in his 1891 Rerum Novarum

PROTESTANT - more anti-Darwinist, pro-creation, belief in biblical inerrancy, Virgin Birth, miracles, resurrection - these were the BASIS OF AMERICAN FUNDAMENTALISM

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American, Islamic Fundamentalism + Religious Adapt

US best example of PROTESTANT fundamentalism - the 1925 Scopes Trial, anti-evolution; nation was more intolerant and militant than the UK for many reasons - MORE BACKWARD

- SOCIALLY - US had more fundamentalist rural areas which were less influenced by intellectualism, and saw the slow communication of the Enlightenment ideas as an issue - this led to THEOLOGICAL WARFARE within the USA

- RELIGIOUS - revivalism was unchallenged in the US, and was less conservative and more 'Puritan' than other nations (Marsden) - this was based on tradition and the dichotomy between God and Satan - conversion seen as the route to salvation, based on the Calvinist tradition

- INTELLECTUAL - an intellectually backwards framework as key thought ie romanticism was a CENTURY LATE - at time of Darwin - this led to greater hostility toward religion in the intellectually undeveloped nation - no modern scholarship, so focussed on the supernatural

ISLAMIC - Sharia Law, Jihadism, Taliban - people like ATATURK have tried reform, however this is a KEY POINT for many people today - 9/11 - Lacayo - how do we respond to fundamentalism; or, ADAPTATION - about the 'Death of God' and responding to secularisation analytically - theology states religion doesn't need God? Also Pope Francis, 'liberation' theory

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Key Thinkers of Faith and Modernity

Berger; Schluchter; Weber; Metz; Strauss; Feuerbach; Renan; Kautsky; Walter James; Lamarck; Darwin; Skinner; Lyell; Lubbe; Jellinek; Mayer; Arnold; Dostoevsky; Sartre; Callum Brown; Salman Rushdie; McDade; Thompson; Marx; Joseph Smith; Ruth Harris; Marsden; Glover; Dixon and Poole-Connor; Piux IX and Leo XII; Hofstadter; Lacayo; Pope Francis

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