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Flashcards in Secularisation Deck (9)
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What does C about Secularisation in Britain?

Crockett estimates that in 1851 40% Of the adult population of Britain attended church on Sundays, leading him to claim that the 19th century was a ‘Golden age of religiosity’.

He now argues that Western societies have long been undergoing a period of secularisation whereby religious beliefs, practices and institutions have lost status, however he sees secularisation as a trend that is NOT universal.


What are the statistics behind Church attendance in the U.K today?

Only 6% of the U.Ks population attend church, a number that has halved since the 1950s, church weddings and baptisms are in huge decline.

However Catholicism has increased as a result of Eastern European immigration.


What impact is secularisation having upon Religious institutions?

Wilson argues that the influence of religion as a social institution has declined as many aspects of life e.g education are now controlled by the public sector. However there are an increasing number of faith schools although most are state funded and must conform to the states regulations.

Some worst case predictions include that the Methodist church will fold by 2030 and the COE will be merely a small skeleton group with lots of heritage property.


What are the first 2 explanations of secularisation?

1) Rational thinking, Rational ways of thinking are replacing religious ones, the 16th century Protestant reformation replaces other worldly theories with more scientific outlooks, showing a change in ideas, this disenchantment is encouraging modern explanations such as beliefs in laws of nature and space, meaning religious explanations are no longer needed.

A technological worldview means that where technology is poorer, religiosity remains high as with medical services etc, reversing beliefs in supernatural powers.

2) Structural changes -
Parsons argues that throughout industrialisation new institutions have replaced many functions of the church.

Therefore religion is becoming further disengaged and disconnected from wider society.


What are the further 3 explanations for secularisation?

3) Social and cultural diversity -
Wilson argues that tight-knit local communities shared religion but industrialisation and globalisation has destroyed this, However Aldridge disagrees with Wilson’s claim that localism is a base for religiosity citing the worldwide Jewish community.

4) Religious diversity -
Berger argues that religious diversity is reducing the absolutism of some religions as it challenges religious beliefs.

5) Cultural defence -
A counter trend to secularisation -
Religion provides a sense of community for immigrants in a different culture and provides a focus for national defence e.g Catholicism in Poland and the fall of communism.

Some argue that this doesn’t counteract secularisation theory as religion is used for identity rather than belief, which is shown in the fall in church attendance in Poland after the fall of communism.


What does W argue about Secularisation in the US?

Wilson argues the 45% of Americans who said they attended church on a Sunday were actually just part taking in the American way of life rather than demonstrating actual religiosity.


What are some facts about declining church attendance in the USA?

Opinion polls show that church attendance has remained steady at around 40% from 1940 until contemporary times however Hadaway claims this is exaggerated as their study of church attendance in one Ohio county was reported 84% higher than what they counted attending church, this may be masking secularisation in the USA as people jut say that they attend church.


What else do some see as a trend that has contributed towards secularisation in the USA?

Psycologicalised religion has resulted in religions becoming less religious with a focus on personal development.


How has religious diversity affected American Secularisation?

L + L

There is growing Practical Relativism whereby Christians are increasingly accepting that others hold different beliefs.

Lynd and Lynd found in 1924 that 94% of churchgoers believed Christianity is the one true religion. By 1977 it fell to 40%, eroding absolutism.