PostModernity & Religion - Believing without Belonging

Grace Davie!

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  • Created on: 22-05-11 11:32

Believing without Belonging.

Grace Davie argues against the secularisation theory. In her view, religion is not declining but simply taking a more PRIVATISED form.

For example, people no longer go to church because they feel they have to or because it's respectable' to do so. Although churchgoing has declined, this is simply because attendance is now a matter of personal choice rather than the obligation it used to be.

As a result, we now have BELIEVING WITHOUT BELONGING - where people hold religious beleifs but don't go to church. The decline of traditional religion is matched by the growth of a new form of religion.

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Vicarious Religion

Davie sees a tred towards 'vicarious religion' where a small number of clergy practise religion on behalf of a much larger number of people, who experience it second hand. This pattern is typical of Britain and Northern Europe. In these societies despite low levels of attendance, many people still use the church for rites of passage- rituals that mark a change of status. (BAPTISMS, WEDDINGS and FUNERALS) This was seen in a Canadian Survey (25% attennd church regularly, 80% turned to it for rites of passage)

Davie compares vicarious religion to a tip of an iceberg and sees it as evidence of BELIEVING WITHOUT BELONGING. It appears to only a small commitment to religion but it is a much wider commitment.

People may turn to religion when they face tragedy or loss, those involved may not normally go to church or pray but they are attached for providing support.

According to Davie, secularisation theory assumes that modernisation causes the decline of religion and its replacement by science. Davie believes that there is not a single version of modern society but she argues there are multiple modernities.For example; Britian and America are both modern socideties but with very different pattens of religion.

Davie rejects the view that religion will simple be replaced by science; her view is that they will continue to co-exist.

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Voas and Crockett do not accept Davie's claim that there is more BELIEVING than BELONGING. Evidence shows from BRITISH SOCIAL ATTITUDES SURVEYS that both church attendance and belief in God are declining. If Davie were right, we would expect to see HIGHER levels of belief.

Bruce adds that if people are not willing to invest their time in going to church, this reflects the declining strength of their beliefs. When people no longer believe, they no longer wish to belong.

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