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"In modern society religious beliefs and religious behaviors are changing rather than declining" Assess the argument for and against this view.

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Introduction

"In modern society religious beliefs and religious behaviors are changing rather than declining" Assess the argument for and against this view. The term Modern Religion in this essay will refer to the religion in the 20th century (i.e. from the 1900's). Also to reduce confusion I will focus mainly on religion within the UK I will term the phrase religious beliefs and religious behaviors to be related with the exclusive definition of religion. Which means a belief in god or a high being and participating in religious practice. There are many views on whether or not religion is declining in this essay I aim to outline and explain different ideas given for and against the idea. Bruce and Wilson agree with the statement and believe that religion is declining, however Davie and Shiner are just some sociologists that believe religion is changing. In sociology there is a name attributed to the decline of religion, this is secularization however there is dispute between sociologists on the usefulness of this term as it can be much broader. However for the purpose of this essay it will mean the decline of religion. ...read more.

Middle

Voluntarism (a market) is beginning to be established. She also introduced the idea of vicarious religion; she said religion was changing into an institution that preformed active services on behalf of the non-active majority. The non-active majority expected these services to be preformed on their behalf because they are to busy with working or too lazy to do them themselves. However, with the arguments Grace Davie makes about the church changing not declining, you cant help but notice that the "new Church" seems to be catering for lazy parishioners who want to "believe but not belong". Contrary to Davies's opinion Bruce, taking from the idea that if religion in its present form is declining something must take its place, noted how new religious movements were never very big, so concluded that the answer must be found somewhere else. Bruce looked at New Age Spirituality, and saw how its relativism allows for culturally diverse societies, whereas traditional religions did not due to their beliefs in one true god. He also said that new age spirituality reflected the modern stresses on the rights of the individualism, and aloud us to make choices for ourselves rather than setting down rules e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

However it had been found that even people who are not religious pray in times of distress, and these where the years in which world war one and world war two resided. So the rise in church attendance could be due to environmental factors and not part of the cyclic theory. Shiner argues that you cannot say religion has decline without first determining a "height" or golden age of religion. I agree with shiners comment, but I also think that the Statement "In modern society religious beliefs and religious behaviors are changing rather than declining" needs more clarification because some people may see a decline in religion as a change in religious behaviors and beliefs. My view is that traditional religion is declining in the UK, but this is due to the increase in people wanting more personal choice and other new age religions offering this (Bruce). However unlike Bruce I believe that these new spiritual alternatives can be classed as religion, therefore showing a change in religious beliefs and behaviors. Regardless of this however I believe that the sociological arguments given push more towards for the statement given in the question. ...read more.

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