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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 19-04-15 17:14
What is secularisation?
The process of becoming less religious
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What is the secularisation thesis?
The claim that religion is declining in importance
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What is WILSON's (1966) definition of secularisation?
The process by which religious institutions, actions and ideas lose their social significance
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What has happened to the power and influence of the church?
It has significantly declines in western europe
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When was the peak of the Roman Catholic Church?
In medieval times, the 12th & 13th centuries.
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Why was the Catholic church so important?
It was central to the political life of western societies, it was a major employers, it provided education in the form of literacy and was too accessible to the illiterate.
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Which function of the church has been passed onto the media?
Providing information and guidance
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Where does the strongest evidence for secularisation in the UK come from?
Church attendance stats. In 1850 40% of the population attended church. In 1950 this was 20% and has continued to drop
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What is meant by rationalisation?
Rational thinking in the shape of science has replaced religious influence.
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What has science provided?
Convincing explanations for phenomena that was once the province of religion e.g. how the world was created
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What does Weber believe began rationalisation in the west?
The protestant reformation begun my Martin Luther in the 16th Century.
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Why is this reformation seen to have begun rationalisation?
It developed a different world view, although God created the world he did not intervene with the running of it. Events could no longer be explained by the work of supernatural beings and so using reason and science humans began to discover laws.
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What is Disenchantment ?
pushing out the magical and spiritual element of explaining events and starting a rationalisation process that leads to the dominance of rational thought
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What does BRUCE argue has replaced religious explanations?
The growth of a technological world view. He states that scientific thought does not challenge religion directly ans scientific knowledge doesnt make people athiest but results in people taking religion less seriously
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What is meant by Disengagement?
The church is no longer involved in certain areas of social life. People are more concerned with their material standard of living rather than spiritual well-being. People are more likely to take moral direction from the mass media.
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What does BERGER (1969) argue has caused secularisation?
A move towards religious diversity. In the Middle Ages the Catholic church has no competition so everyone lived by it's ideas, in todays society we have a great number of belief systems
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What does BERGER argue this pluralism has created?
A crisis of credibility for religion
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What is the Plausibility Structure?
When there are alternative versions of religion people are likely to question them all so this them questions the absolute certainty that some religions claim to have.
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What is meant by the idea of a spiritual revolution?
Christianity being replaced by new age beliefs and practices.
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What did WILSON argue Americans went to church for?
as an expression of the American way of life, rather than a deeply held religious belief. He claimed that America was a secular society because the belief was superficial
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What are the 3 sources of evidence BRUCE uses to back up WILSONS view about America and religion?
1)Declining church attendance 2)Secularisation from within 3)Trend towards religious diversity
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What did BRUCE conclude about self reported rates of church attendance?
They mask the real decline in attendance, some people may exaggerate how much they attend church because it is seen as socially desirable to go to church.
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How has religion become secularised from within, according to BRUCE?
The emphasis on traditional christian beliefs and glorifying God has declines and religion has turned into a sort of therapy. This has allowed it to fit in with secular society and it has remained popular by becoming less religious.
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What is meant by Practical relativism ?
it involves the acceptance of the view that others are entitles to hold beliefs that are different to one's own.
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What is the main evaluative point of secularisation?
There are problems with measurement
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Give 4 reasons why there are problems with measurement?
1) Data collection techniques were unreliable/unused in the past 2) May exaggerate attendance levels 3) It is a private experience, you cannot measure belief 4)They disregard NRM and focus on the main churches and denominations
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Give the 7 explanations for secularisation
1) Attendance 2)Rationalisation 3)Disenchantment 4)Technological world view 5)Disengagement 6)Religious diversity 7)Spiritual revolution
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What is the secularisation thesis?


The claim that religion is declining in importance

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What is WILSON's (1966) definition of secularisation?


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Card 4


What has happened to the power and influence of the church?


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When was the peak of the Roman Catholic Church?


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