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"Modern Britain is a secular society" Discuss

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Introduction

"Modern Britain is a secular society" Secularisation has become more of an issue among sociologists recently than it has been in the past. It is the argument of whether or not religion is losing it's importance in today's society that is the topic of discussion. Bryan Wilson defined secularisation as being "The process whereby religious thinking, practices and institutions lose social significance." This definition itself and not just the topic alone causes problems: it might be argued that it is not possible to measure the significance of such a personal thing as religion and if it is possible it may not even be true that religion held such a significance in the first place. It may not be true that modern Britain is a secular society or perhaps it is and it always has been. These are just some of the problems that arise with the discussion of secularisation.codb dbr sedbdbw ordb dbk indb fodb db. Continuing with Bryan Wilson, he believed that secularisation was in fact occurring and that religion holds less importance now than it had done in the past. ...read more.

Middle

They thought that such social indicators as church attendance didn't measure religiosity. For example, there are some people that may attend church as it is considered the 'done thing' and not because they have any particular religious beliefs. Also a person may choose not to attend church because they prefer private worship but this does not mean that such a person is not religious. Demereth and Hammond might also point to the growth in smaller religious groups such as Jehovah's witnesses, Krishnah Consciousness, etc. These such groups are not included in church statistics therefore they are lacking vital information. Berger spoke from a Phenomenological perspective. This difficult concept in simple terms says that religion or a belief system is required for an individual's basis and source of knowledge. In pre- industrialisation times, religion provided the answers to all of our questions: It told us how life began and even provided us with a moral code by which to live by. Religion was our 'Universe of Meaning' (The framework which enables us to make sense of things). Berger says that now the Universe of Meaning is changing, religion is under threat by other religions, different religious beliefs and scientific perspectives. ...read more.

Conclusion

More simply Shiner was asking the question, whether or not religion ever did hold such an influence over people's lives. On a similar note, KV Thomas said in reference to 16th and 17th century England that because we do not know enough about the religious beliefs and practices of this time that we cannot be sure that a decline has occurred. Williams determined in his study of Gosforth that church attendance has always been low. Parish records indicated that there was low church attendance for 400 years but new Anglican vicars had assumed that this was a recent trend. All of the above mentioned sociologists bring many important important issues into consideration. What is secularisation? How can you measure it? How do you know how important religion used to be, and therefore is there actually a decrease in religion? As secularisation (or religion for that matter) has no clear definition known to all, it would be foolish for anyone to answer the title of this essay. Instead, it should be accepted that people belief in different things, and that, although attendance to spiritual places of worship may be decreasing, the amount of 'religion' in Modern Britain, is not necessarily suffering the same fate. ...read more.

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