- Does religion continue to be an important influence in society in the modern industrial age.
- Wilson and Bruce - society is experiencing 'secularisation', which they describe as a decline in the social significance of religious beliefs, practices and institutions.
- However, Davie - methodological problems in accurately measuring religious beliefs and practises.
- Wilson - 'the process whereby religious thinking, practise and institutions lose social significance'.
- Woodhead and Heelas - can be interpreted in 2 ways:
- (1) The decline of religious belief and practices among individuals.
- People no longer believe in the supernatural and that they are becoming:
- (a) More agnostic (not sure about the existence of God)
- (b) Apathetic (indifferent to the existence of God)
- (c) Atheist (sure that God does not exist)
- (2) Relgion is no longer important as part of the social system of society - it no longer has an effect on other social institutions such as the family, education, the arts, the law and the political system.
Measuring secularisation: the statistical evidence
- Official religious statistics
- (a) Church attendance statistics.
- (1) Crockett - 40% of the adult pop in 1851 attended church.
- However by 1950, this figure had dropped to 20%.
- (2) In 2010, around 923,700 people or 1.5% of the UK population attended Anglican churches on a Sunday.
- (3) Between 1979 and 2005, attendance at Catholic, Anglican, United Reform and Orthodox churches declined by nearly 50%.
- (4) In 2007, two thirds of the UK population attended a religious service no more than once a year or less or never.
- (5) Wilson - statistics suggest that religion has been reduced to traditional 'hatching, matching and dispatching' rituals.
- (b) Church membership.
- Church membership (being born into, baptised, confirmed or married) has significantly decline over that last thirty…
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