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"In modern society, religious beliefs and religious behaviour are changing rather than declining" assess arguments and evidence for and against this view.

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Introduction

"In modern society, religious beliefs and religious behaviour are changing rather than declining" assess arguments and evidence for and against this view There are two main ways in which religion is defined. Substantive definitions define a religious belief system as involving relations between the "natural" and the "supernatural" ideas therefore religion is defined in terms of structure and content of people's beliefs not what religion does for them. The other way is functional definitions this defines religion in terms of the function it performs for society. This is what Marx called "the opium of the masses" and a form of social cement, this means TV or football matches could be considered religious. Wilson (1982) stated that those who defined religion in substantive terms are more likely to support the secularisation thesis because they can show that religious beliefs has declined as people accept other more rational explanations of the world. The idea of secularisation suggests that religion is becoming less prominent in society and its institutions less important and influential in the lives of individuals. ...read more.

Middle

As a whole in society today religion plays a less political role but religion is still a major provider of education and welfare for the poor. National debates about issues such as the age on homosexual consent, the family and abortions are given a moral dimension by the contributions of religious leaders. The media still show an interest in such issues as women priests and religious programmes such as 'songs of praise' still attract 7-8 million viewers. Which in a functionalist's eyes is still a form of religion. But despite very low Church membership and attendance levels surveys show that there seems to be a survival of some religious beliefs. The 1998 British social attitudes survey states that 21% of those questioned agreed to the statement ' I know god exists and I have no doubt about it' and only 10% said they did not believe in god at all, but there may be a moral connection attached with such a survey such that people feel more inclined to say yes whether they do believe in god or not. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst established religion may appear to decline in western countries like Britain, the growth of our immigrant populations is causing an increase in religiosity. Islam is the fastest growing religion in Britain and non-Trinitarian church membership has mushroomed. Also in the US 40% of the adult population regularly attend church and about 5% regularly tune into religious TV and 20 million watch some religious programming every week. Hervieu Leger (1993) suggests that what secularisationists see as religious decline is merely the reorganisation of religion so that it better suits the needs of modern societies. So in my opinion I agree with the statement that religious beliefs and behaviour are changing not declining, because people in today's society are been offered a more varied choice of what ways are acceptable to serve god so the people are choosing these methods and are still religious because of it they are just asserting their right to be an individual, religion is still a strong influence in most peoples daily lives but some of us need to accept the way it has altered to adapt the people wishing to access it, and alter there way of viewing religion to coincide with this change. The Sociology Of Religion Esme . J . Owens Words 1154 1 ...read more.

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