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What does Wilson argue about churchgoing in America?

He argues that it was more of an expression of the American way of life as opposed to a deeply help religious belief

1

How did Wilson argue that America had become a secular society?

He claimed that their religion had become superficial, not because people had abandoned the churches like in the UK

2

What three sources of evidence does Bruce use to support his claim that America is becoming increasingly secular?

Declining church attendance, 'secularisation from within and a trend towards religious diversity and relativism

3

What does opinion poll research asking people about church attendance suggest?

It suggests that it has been stable at about 40% of the population since 1940

4

What evidence did Hadaway find that contradicted this 40% figure?

If 40% of Americans were going to church then the churches would be full - but they weren't

5

What does Bruce conclude about church attendance?

That a stable rate of self reported attendance of about 40% has masked a decline in actual attendance in the US

6

According to Bruce, why has the gap between self-reported attendance and actual attendance increased?

It is still seen as socially desirable or normal to go to church, so people who have stopped going will still say they attend if asked in a survey

7

What does the idea of secularisation from within refer to?

The emphasis on traditional Christian beliefs and glorifying God has declined and religion in America has become 'psychologised' or turned into a form of therapy which has enabled it to fit in with a secular society

8

Bruce identifies a trend towards practical relativism among American Christians. What does this involve?

Acceptance of the view that others are entitled to hold beliefs that are different to ones own

9

Identify 4 criticisms of secularisation theory

Religion is not declining but simply changing its for. It focuses on decline but ignores religious revivals and the growth of new religions. Evidence of falling church attendance ignores people who have faith but don't go to church. Religion may have declined in Europe but not in America, therefore secularisation is not universal