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Assess the nature and extent of secularisation in society today

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Assess the nature and extent of secularisation in society today To fully asses the view of secularization on society today, we need to look at the definition of secularization, according to Bryan Wilson he defines secularisation as the process whereby religious thinking, practices and institutions lose social significance, in other words declining in religion. There are many aspects to the secularisation which I will try to discuss in this essay such as, the decline in church membership and attendance, the rationalization of de-sacralisation of society, the disengagement of the church from wider society, the growth of religious pluralism and many more, which all have a part to the reason of secularisation in society today. The decline of church membership can be explained in different ways. It is said that less and less people are attending church than people were attending church 50 years ago due to the change in society such as the state has change. Before the church use to provide food, education and other services to people and the church was the main steam in the society. Now the state is there to provide for people, now they have introduced free health care such as the NHS, the welfare state, the benefit system and ...read more.


Wilson agrees that the growth of 'rational' or scientific ways of thinking have reduced the influence of religious beliefs on modern mans behaviour, therefore coming to secularization. It is illustrated by Weber that modernisation involved 'replacement of irrational and emotional modes of thought such as religious beliefs with rationalization and intellectualisation' in other words Weber describes in modern day people are beginning to understand things through science and rationalisation rather than religious reasons. He also explains that people in the olden days use to believe in mystical things but now scientific knowledge and technology explain the previous unexplainable, for example we are more likely to turn to technology of a land irrigation scheme rather than a rain dance. However, it is argued that the advancement of science and rationalisation does not mean that people do not believe in supernatural. For example more people believe in horoscopes now than they were fifty years ago, there are other forms of supernaturalism that have formed over the recent years. To put it simply, rationalisation does not mean for secularization. Thomson agrees and argues that Wilson probably exaggerates the rationality of modern science. ...read more.


So the growth of new religious movements does not mean that religion is declining, in fact it is growing in different ways. On the other hand it is said that sects and cults are short lived as there are many factors which make these new religions die out such as the leaders of the new religious movements dies therefore the religions does not go further as they cannot fond a charismatic leader that can live up to the expectations or there is a mass murder within the group etc. To sum up secularisation can not be true statement of society today as the factors noted before show that there are arguments for both sides. It is said by Thompson that the whole secularisation debate hinges on the definition of religion; inclusive religion as a universe of meaning, an extremely broad definition therefore difficult to measure. Or, Exclusive concerned with actions obviously religious e.g. participation in organised established religion. Many sociologist such as Wilson believes that secularisation is happening in society today, however others argue that the definition of secularisation is too broad and Wilson uses methodological tools i.e. statistical analysis are too crude. ?? ?? ?? ?? Azija Khanam ...read more.

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