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To argue whether or not secularisation is occurring, or has occurred, in our society today one must first define religion itself, then define secularisation- how influential is it now, compared to that of the past, and finally define it's significance.

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Introduction

Secularisation "Secularisation is the process whereby religious thinking, practises and institutions lose social significance." Suggested by Brian Wilson (1966). To argue whether or not secularisation is occurring, or has occurred, in our society today one must first define religion itself, then define secularisation- how influential is it now, compared to that of the past, and finally define it's significance. Religion- definition Religion is, or was, one of the essential elements of a society, as well as politics, economics and education. It teaches the main principles of living and behaving. Religion imposes meaning and order in a world of chaos and uncertainty. Religion was created by humans to explain the environment and to make the framework of a society, producing authorities and a legitimation system. I think that religion diversifies death: it conceals an element of life, which we as human beings cannot resist to dread and to fear, religion blinds this from us by creating an afterlife. One of the most important aspects of a religion is its ability to explain the super natural, and also evil, suffering and death, as suggested by Berger. This is known as a theodicy, which Berger borrowed from Weber; it means "the justice of god". Secularisation- definition Bryan Wilson's definition of secularisation is fairly accurate. However, what does religious thinking, practises and institutions mean, how do you measure significance, and when was the 'golden age' or peak for religion, if there was one? ...read more.

Middle

Weber also said that "rationalism has replaced mysticism". I think he uses this term to point out that in our ever-advancing society our own discoveries about our existence and the environment are destroying the 'wonders of the world' and replacing them with scientific, rational explanations. In 1983 64% of white British people considered themselves Church of England, whilst only 4.3% went to communion. This suggests that most people "Believe without Belonging" (as suggested by Gracie Davies). This theory applies again in the 90's and 00's, with a probable decrease in figures as society today is very demanding and very few people find the time to attend church. If people today were as religious as they were fifty or sixty years ago there wouldn't be as much violence, hatred and lack of respect in our society. For example, the number of young teenage women becoming pregnant in the last ten years has increased to a shocking level, compared to the very few percentage of teenage pregnancies in the 1940's or 50's (if any teenage pregnancies occurred at all!). Perhaps this is an unfair example, maybe teenage pregnancies are just more accepted in today's society; but why is it accepted as easily today- is it because of the lack of religious principles enforced onto the next generation? If you compared a family living in 2002 to a family living in 1950 there would probably be a difference in the way the children were brought up; religion played a greater part in the families of 1950 than the families of 2002. ...read more.

Conclusion

We are the same, except we hide death because we are cowards, we rely on a 'greater force' or being to explain things and to hide things- death, suffering. Humans are just evolved forms of apes, why would there be a heaven for the cleverer being? I don't think it is possible for every single living thing to have an after-life or a reincarnation, it wouldn't allow the process of life and death to carry on. Thus, my theory comes into play; we as the greater being, with higher intelligence and greater emotions, have to create an almighty power and a 'heaven' so that we prevent ourselves from multiple depression and to stop us being in constant fear of death, for if we knew what death entails then no one would leave their bed for fear of dieing. Religion therefore is not just a belief, it is a way of surviving in today's society for if we didn't have religion to block out the aspect of death then we wouldn't be able to survive; no one would work, for fear of death, causing a shortage of food and after awhile people would die anyway of starvation. The only way for religion to survive in today's society is for it to adapt, give the people what they want. Therefore I conclude that religion (as in exact to the bible which supports traditional religious practises) is in decline, and adapted religion (which relies on nationalism to attract people/ 'customers') is the only way forward. By Jack Howard Jack Howard English Essay 01/05/2007 ...read more.

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