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

Outline and evaluate the view that religion is losing its significance in the contemporary UK. [33mk]

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Vasudev Sharan Lawrence School, Lovedale Outline and evaluate the view that religion is losing its significance in contemporary UK? [33mk] An absolute position on, ?religion is losing its significance in contemporary UK? is problematic. In other words, any discussion on whether British society is undergoing secularisation is in turn informed by the discussant?s view of religion itself. For instance, if religion is defined in substantive terms (cognate of sacred and supernatural) evidence of secularisation of British society may become more apparent. However, seen from a functionalist perspective, other evidences would become more conspicuous to indicate that religion is still a potent force in British social life. Sociologists who believe that the British society is undergoing or has undergone significant secularisation are inclined to see that there has been a major displacement of religious belief, practice and sense of community from the moral life of society (Victor Lidz, 1979, Secularisation Ethical Life and Religion in Modern Societies). ...read more.


Max Weber in his pioneering work -The Protestant Ethics & the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), saw ?desacrilisation? as the ?disenchantment of the world?, the religious world view losing its mystery and magic thus replacing it with technological world view. Further, Berger (1973) argued that Protestantism represented crucial elements of secularism within the tradition of western Christianity itself. Reformation and Enlightenment focusing on the ?this life?, ?work? and ?pursuit of prosperity? provided the pivotal impetus towards secularisation. Talcott Parsons in his book ?The Social System? (1951) posited that with industrialisation and urbanisation societies underwent ?structural differentiation? wherein specialised institutions increasingly assumed the functions of hitherto performed by religion. For instance, the exercise of authority, adjudication, education and entertainment came to be performed by State, independent judiciary, universities and theatre independent of Church. Social differentiation, arising out of geographical and social mobility resulting in religious pluralism, Bruce (1995)(1996) argued, made religion a matter of choice rather than something that can be taken for granted. ...read more.


Bellah (1987) argued that while institutional religion is in decline other aspects of it continue in a variety of form in modern society. Individuation has replaced institutional religion and many have embarked on spiritual journeys in search of themselves. Any debate on how secular or how religious is British society or for that matter any society would ultimately mean understanding the tense cultural dilemma: whether social institutions should draw their legitimacy from Moral Rationalism or Religious Tradition? While there is little doubt that institutionalised Church plays less of a political role today than it did in earlier centuries our national debates on issues such as age of homosexual consent, abortion, women priest and public policies on poverty continue to be influenced by the Church and its leaders. Measuring religiosity or secularisation of British society would also require understanding of religious beliefs and practices of minorities. In a globalised world it also may mean understanding how societies in Africa, Asia and Latin America respond to institutionalised religion. ...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. Assess the view that cults, sects and new age movement are fringe organisations that ...

    popularity and many people are turning away from traditional religions and following there idols in something new. Although Scientology is new it has become very popular among the young and older generations of society. In addition new religious movements have become very popular and are on the increase due to

  2. Assess the causes and consequences of changes in the UK population

    The family was affected because smaller families meant that women are more likely to be able to go out and work, thus creating dual earner couples. However better off couples may be able to have larger families and pay for childcare that allows them to both work.

  1. Difference and similarities between 2 societies - China and the UK

    8 The inequality of society exist in every countries no matter Britain or China. The salary for different jobs are unequal is an uneven allocation of income across the population. Some people are very wealth while others are very poor.

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

    Bruce (1995, 2002) uses the term societalization (first used by Wilson) to refer to a process in which social life becomes fragmented and ceases to be locally based as a consequence of general modernization. Close- knit communities are in decline- replaced by large impersonal bureaucracies.

  1. Secularisation. Bryan Wilson said all societies would eventually lose their religion, a vague statement ...

    David Martin has a different viewpoint. He says the church hasn't been Dis-engaged it has simply been left to do what it should have been doing all along. It shouldn't have ever got involved with teaching and governing. The church is there to teach people about god and of the Christian faith.

  2. Sociology independent project - mormons

    These are not really to strong boundaries they just want to protect there bodies. They are still conversing with the rest of society so it can be argued Mormonism is nowhere near a sect which is isolated from rest of society.


    Multiculturalism: the term multicultural society is a contentious one these days. What was once a term which was supposed to show how progressive and cosmopolitan a country was is now riddled with all kinds of other meanings ? with some quarters suggesting that the term should be scrapped altogether.

  2. Assess the view that science has replaced religion as the main ideological influence in ...

    * Organised Scepticism: No knowledge claim is regarded as ?sacred? or the ?truth?. These ?CUDOS? norms give science an advantage over religion as only truthful and factual theories are produced. To add to this religion may seem less influential in society today as it?s seen as a closed belief system.

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