Topic 4 Postmodernity and religion

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Believing without belonging.

Davie-> believing without belonging. 
- religion isnt declining but becoming privatised.  
Attendance to church is personal choice.
- people hold religious beliefs but dont go to church.
Vicarious religion - church is still used for ritual/rites of passage (weddings etc.)

Bibby- Canadian survey. 25% attend. 80% hold beliefs. 
Davie-> Beneath what appears to only be a small commitment is a larger commitment. 
Eg pepole come to church at times of tragedy. ( princess diana)
People who may not normally go to church come for rituals + support.

Criticisms
Voas + Crockett -> reject believing is more than belonging because if that were true, British social attitude surveys would show that. But we see a decline in both.

Bruce -> if people dont invest time in church, it reflects the declining strength of their beliefs.  

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Spiritual shopping

Hervien-Leger agrees in decline of traditional religion. 
Cultural amnesia -> children used to be taught religion but now there isnt as much of an issue made by parents to hand it down.
Parents let children decide their own religion.

Hervien-Leger -> says religion no longer acts as the source of collective identity it used to. 
- Religion does impact on values in society though. eg civil rights.
Declining tradition increased individualism (late modernity)  

- Individual consumerism has replaced collective tradition.  

Consumers of religions. 
2 new religion types.
1) pilgrims - search for self discovery./ demans due to emphasis on personal development.
2) converts- join religious groups that offer collectivist backgrounds.  

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Relocation of religion.

Lyon - 'Jesus in Disneyland' 
Agrees with Davie on believing without belonging.
Post modern society has features that change nature of religion.
Harvest day crusade held at Disneyland- Boundaries have become blurred in postmodern society.
* people have taken symbols and signs for own purpose.
- eg cross is now a fashion statement.  

Relocation of religion.
Globalisation of religion in all societies.
Due to media in postmodern society- new ideas are shared + accessed -> media lift ideas making them 'Disembedded'.  

*Eg the electronic church allows believers to access + express their faith without attending church.  

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Religious consumerism.

Spiritual shoppers- creation of our own identity. 
Pick and mix -> individualised religion.  

Re-enchantment of the world. 
Lyon criticises secularisation that religion is being replaced by scientific view.
Sees last 3/4 decades as a period of re-enchantment.- eg growing of non tradition religion.

Criticisms.
Postmodernists say religious media goes against secularisation.
- Research shows people watch programmes that confirm their beliefs.- therefore unlikely to convert people.

-> not enough research into electronic church unlike attendance.
Bruce sees consumerist religion having little effect as evidence for rise of secularisation, not continual vitality of religion.  

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Religious market theory (rational choice theory)

Stark + Bainbridge (critical of secularisation/ ethnocentric)
They say there as no golden age.

  • Religion meets humans needs - keeping demand for religion constant. (we are naturally religion) 
  • Its human nature to seek rewards + avoid costs. (costs/benifits are weighed up) 

Religion rewards us by promising us supernatiral ones. eg life after death.
Cycle of religions decline -> revival / renewal when churches decline, there is a gap in the market for new sect. -> therefore secularisation ignores growth of new religions.

Stark + Bainbridge -> religion is like businesses selling goods.
Competition leads to improvements of quality of goods.
- where churches dont respond to needs of the market, members will decline.  

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America + Europe

consumers look for religions to suit their needs therefore demand increases.

Stark + Bainbridge -> religion thrives in USA.- because there is no monopoly in Us.

The constitution -> guarentees separation from church and state. 
* As there is healthy religious market, keeps demand constant.
Official state church with monopoly -> eg church of england
Lack of choice / socialisation has led to decline
- Main influence to religion is supply.
- when choice availible higher demand.

Comparing UK to USA, declining religion isnt a universal trend such as secularisation theory suggests.  

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Supply-led religion

Supply-led religion -> supporting Stark + Bainbridge. 
Hadden + Sharpe - growth of 'televangilism'
Religious adverts brought supply aiding opportunity of demand.

Finke -> lifting Asian immigration to USA in 1960's let their traditional religions set up perminantly.  eg hare krishna + meditation.
- therefore aisian faiths became popular in the marketplace.

Criticisms
Religious market theory is rejected.
Bruce rejects that diversity + competition increased demand for religion.
Statistics show a decline in religion in UK + USA along with increase in diversity.

Bruce says secularisation theory doesnt say everyone will be athiests it just says religion is in long term decline.
- some countries eg Holland + Australia have low participation yet high amount of religious cults. Beckford- Religious market theory assumes we are all naturally religious yet it doesnt tell us why we make specific choice.  

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Existential security theory

Norris + Inglehart say religion market theory doesnt apply to all societies. only America. 
No international studies of religion have found link of choice + participation.
-> theysa differences in society is the degree of security people eel in society.
- religion makes people feel secure > where people are secure, low demand for religion.

poor societies -> life threatening risks/ high religiousity.

Rich societies -> higher standard of living / low risk/ lower religiousity.

This would explain why western countries are becoming secular.
Populations growing in third world therefore, these insecure countries have become more religious as western countries become secular.  

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State welfare + religiosity

Gill -> supports Inglehart and found countries that spend more on welfare have lower levels of religious participation. eg Europe spend more than the USA. 

Gill -> in past, religion provided welfare for the poor and does still in poor countries. 
In the west, state provided welfare leading to decline in religion.  

Welfare may meet security needs but religion supposedly answers the ultimate questions of life. 

Evaluation. 
Vasquez -> critisises Norris + Ingeheart research only uses quantitive data on income levels.
They dont examine actual security. - He says they should use qualitative data instead. 

Norris + Inglehart see religion as negative response to deprivation and ignore positve reasons.  

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