• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the view that we are now living in a secular society.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the view that we are now living in a secular society. Secularization is described by Bryan Wilson as, 'the process whereby religious thinking, practice and institutions lose social significance'. Contemporary sociologists argue that society is becoming more secular due to science and rationality, the decline of traditional values and the specialized division of labour. This appears to be confirmed by statistics, who claim that church attendance has fallen from 1,200,000 in 1980 to 850,000 in 2001. However, David Barrett has documented the emergence of some 6,300 New Religious Movements since the 1960s and the number of UK Muslims has increased from 40,000 to 1,400,000 which suggest that religion is developing to meet the needs of people in a modern society rather than decreasing altogether. On an international level Gilles Kepel states that there is little evidence of a general trend towards secularization and that in fact there is much evidence, such as the popularity of the Christian New Right in the US, Islamatization movements in Algeria and the Jewish political group Lubavitch in Israel, to suggest a religious revival. ...read more.

Middle

Bryan Wilson partially supports this view in terms of the loss of the social welfare and control functions, stating that due to societalization the church is no longer a focal point, people no longer rely upon the local priest for advice and cannot decide what to believe due to cultural diversity. David Matin blames disengagement for society allegedly becoming more secular, saying that the wealth, influence and prestige of the church has declined, it is no longer a major employer (one in thirty adults were employed by the church in previous times) and its ideological power has decreased. Functionalist Talcott Parsons disagrees, arguing that although the church may have lost its functions and become disengaged from the state and politics, religion can still be significant in everyday life and encourages shared values in society. However, Bruce did admit that religion is still used as a last resort when all rational and scientific options have been exhausted, stating that, 'when we have tried every cure for cancer, we pray...'. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, these dimensions further illustrate the difficulties of measuring religiosity, such as what needs to be taken into account, whether religion has to satisfy all of these dimensions, and which is the most important. To conclude, the secularization process cannot be proved or disproved, with the term 'secularization' being used in many different ways by sociologists. As Glock and Stark pointed out, as we have not adequately defined religion or religiosity, one cannot accurately test the secularization thesis and many sociologists also agree that religion varies according to national, regional, ethnic and class differences and so it is difficult to relate the secularization thesis to the whole of society. Therefore how secular contemporary society has become cannot be determined. However, society is not entirely secular, and with the emergence of New Religious Movements and New Age Movements religion appears to be developing and changing rather than declining altogether. ?? ?? ?? ?? Marilyn Wilkinson 13S ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Outline and Assess Whether stratification is either inevitable or beneficial to individuals and society?

    Positions vary from the amount of income and the occupational skills and qualifications needed. Thus there are a number of finally graded occupational classes. The people within each class share broadly similar life chances. Weber went on to say that in terms of class there is always conflict and that it isn't very functional.

  2. Assess the view that cults, sects and new age movement are fringe organisations that ...

    Also as post modernists argue, there is also an increased cynicism about the ability of science to provide solutions to these problems. Drane (1999) argues that western societies are turning against modern institutions and belief systems. Modern rationality is increasingly being blamed for disasters such as the holocaust and world wars.

  1. Assess the nature and extent of secularization in society today. Evidence surrounding church attendance ...

    People frequently mix with strangers without knowing their status. As a result, it is increasingly difficult for people to see themselves as subject to the power of an omnipotent God. Nevertheless, Parsons argued that religious beliefs still give meaning and significance to life. Churches are still the fount of religious ethics and values.

  2. Modern Britain is now a secular society

    weakened one of their greatest strengths, the ability to control how people see and think about the world. Although its specialist insights into "religious questions" such as the meaning of life; may afford religion some influence in society. However the Church no longer has a judicial function, the ability to

  1. Examine the extent to which husbands and wives now have a relationship based on ...

    * Bernard (1982) found that men were more satisfied with their marriages than women, many of whom expressed emotional loneliness, and these men had no idea their wives were unhappy. * Martin & Roberts (1984) based their sample on nearly 6000 women aged between 19-59.

  2. Poverty and welfare models

    to the poorer in society, therefore reducing poverty by generating more employment opportunities. This is known as the 'trickle down' thesis. Most of the New Rights ideas come from Right Wing Economy theories. Milton Friedman, a Right Wing Economist, believed the answer to developing the welfare state was 'marketisation' and

  1. Assess the view that we are now living in a new post-modern era

    Other evidence for our consumer lives in society is shown in the rising number of university applicants; even with raised fees in recent years, the intake of students by universities is on the rise, implying that each and every person in society, independent of their social background or class, can

  2. Diversity in Contemporary British Society

    This evolving relationship is reflected, for example, in the longstanding inclusion of Religious Education in the school curriculum and the important changes in the content of this over recent years to reflect the UK?s greater religious diversity. Most religious traditions have both a personal and a public dimension and invite

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work