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

What does the declining levels of church participation tell us about secularisation in contemporary society?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐What does the declining levels of church participation tell us about secularisation in contemporary society? In this essay, I shall be exploring the term ?secularisation? in contemporary society in relation to the religion of Jesus Christ. Secularisation is a contested argument as key commentators disagree on a number of aspects. For instance; what is the actual meaning of the term, does it make reference to ?religion?s displacement, decline, or change? (Demerath III, 2007: 2), it is ?long term, linear, inevitable or short-term, cyclical and contingent (Demerath III, 2007: 2). Throughout history its evident that some form of ?secularisation? has been occurring with major religious institution and their traditions especially in regards to ?religious thinking, practices and institutions? (Wilson et al., 1966: xiv). Church participation is an interesting and reliable element to explore secularisation, as you can differentiate between those Christians who hold religious beliefs and practice regularly in contrast to ?nominalist Christians? (Bright in Day, 2011) who take this notion of beliefs for granted and only use Christianity for the purposes of public censuses (Brierley, 1999). I shall explore how secularisation has had an influence on the younger generation, with specifically looking at how youth programmes and their have benefitted from the decline in church participation and the rise of ?immanent faith? (Collins-Mayo et al. 2010: 33). In order to fully understand the notion of secularisation in contemporary society its important to define the concept. The notion of secularisation is still a debated topic in the 21st century with many scholars, with historical sociologists to anthropologists, providing their own intellectual perspective on the study of secularisation (Brown et al. 2010: 3) Brown and Snape (2010) have had a considerable input with the conceptualisation of secularisation, they stated during the 1970?s that there had always been an acknowledgement that was religion was declining with the ?changing patterns of the social significance of religion around the world? (Brown et al. ...read more.


2010: 10) for instance; in times of bereavement and illnesses. The younger generation in this case would not have to come in contact with these arrangement until they become ?adults? so after marriage or when they have children (Stanton, in Arweck and Jackson (2014: 135) Collins-Mayo et al. (2010) had researched 300 young people between the ages of 18 and 23 and what their relations and beliefs were in regards to the church and Christianity. They concluded that many young people had affiliated their beliefs with their ?immanent faith? (Collins-Mayo et al. 2010: 33). Immanent faith plays a huge role in the lives of the youth, as they turn to their ?family, friends and self? (Moynagh, 2012: 85) in order determine and validate their own beliefs as they consider them to anchors for ?meaning, hope and purpose? (Moynagh, 2012: 85). Collins-Mayo et al. (2010) found that youth programmes had ?fostered only a passing interest? (Stanton, in Arweck and Jackson, 2014: 135) for Christianity as the younger generation were already content without religion in their day-to-day lifestyle. Evidently there is this ongoing theme of ?present time-orientation? with the younger generation, as they would only look to achieve ?happiness and fulfilment for the present time and near future? (Savage et al. 2006; ). They would become involved with the church to the extent where they are morally content with themselves, but they don?t feel obligated or see attended the church as a form of commitment just another layer of their lifestyle. This links back and is reinforced by Davie?s work (1994) as she discusses that one of the effect of secularisation is how society undergoes an observable, lifestyle change. She states how it has transformed ? from a culture of obligation or duty to a culture of consumption or choice? (Davie, 1994: ). Many Christians would attend church for a ?short period?to fulfil a particular rather than a general need in life..(and) ...read more.


69-88 London: Christian Research Cheal, D.J. (2008) Families in Today’s World: A Comparative Approach. London: Taylor and Francis (Routledge). Collins-Mayo, S., Mayo, B. and Nash, S. (2010) ‘The Faith of Generation Y’, London: Church House Publishing. Brown et al. (2010) Demerath III, N. J. (2007) ‘Secularization and Sacralization Deconstructed and Reconstructed’, in Beckford, J. A. and Demerath III, N. J. (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, London: Sage. Day, A. (2011) Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Day, A., Vincett, G. and Cotter, C.R. (2013) ‘Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular’. United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing. Davie, G. (1994) ‘Religion in Britain since 1945’, Oxford: Blackwell. Davie, G. (2006) ‘Is Europe an exceptional case?’, International Review of Mission, 95(378-379), pp. 247–258. Davie, G. (2007) ‘Vicarious Religion: A Methodological Challenge’, in Ammerman, N. T. (Ed) Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Foley, G. (1995) ‘Family-centered church: A new parish model. Kansas City, MO: Sheed & Ward,U.S. Hervieu-Léger, D. (2000) ‘Religion as a Chain of Memory’, Cambridge: Polity Press. Hunsberger, B. and Altemeyer, B. (2006) ‘Atheists: A Groundbreaking Study of America’s Non-believers’, New York: Prometheuus Books. Moynagh, M. and Harrold, P. (2012) ‘Church for Every Context: An Introduction to Theology and Practice’. London: Presbyterian Pub Corp. Savage, S.B., Collins-Mayo, S. and Mayo, B. (2011) ‘Making Sense of Generation Y: The world view of 15- to 25-year-olds’. London: Church House Publishing. Snape, M. and Brown, C.G. (2010) ‘Secularisation in the Christian world: Essays in honour of Hugh McLeod’. Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing Company. Stanton, N. (2012) ‘Christian Youth Work: Teaching Faith, Filling Churches or Response to Social Need?’, Journal of Beliefs & Values, 33(3), pg. 385–403. Thatcher, A. (1999) ‘Marriage After Modernity: Christian Marriage in Postmodern Times’. New York: New York University Press. Thatcher, A. (2002) ‘Living Together and Christian Ethics’. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Wilson, B. (1966) ‘Religion in Secular Society’. London: C.A. Watts & Co. Ltd. Winter, M. and Smart, C. (1993) ‘Believing and Belonging in Rural England’. British Journal of Sociology, 44 (4), pg. 635-51 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Religion in Society 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 University Degree Religion in Society essays

  1. Is the influence of religion in western society declining? Can we reasonably measure its ...

    The primary unit in society is no longer the family, but the individual (Millikan, 1981 p. 87). There is a number of people who believe, pray or meditate (Ballis, 1999 p. 6); many Australians feel a hunger for meaning (Ballis, 1999 p.

  2. The entry sets out five individually necessary conditions for anyone to be a candidate ...

    (1991), and van der Wal, et al. (1992a and 1992b) into what the Report revealed. In a second nation-wide investigation of physician-assisted dying in the Netherlands carried out in 1995 a similar picture emerged as had in the earlier Remmelink Report.

  1. I will examine the cultural expression of religion, and discuss the role that the ...

    religious wars (83 per cent) and issues around money (87 per cent), (Zwartz 2011). eligion is eminently social: it occurs in a social context, and, more importantly, when men celebrate sacred things, they unwittingly celebrate the power of their society.

  2. I have decided to look at three articles that are related to the role ...

    it was thought that Obama did not agree with school vouchers being made available for Religious Schools, even though this had been the case during Bush?s presidency. Obama decided that those already receiving the vouchers could continue to receive them until they had finished school, but new pupils would not be receiving them.

  1. The Christian Cultural Heritage of the USA. Thomas Jefferson and the Creation of ...

    But it does to me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. If neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg?Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error? ? (27).

  2. The Changing Role of the Catholic Church in Latin America

    substantiated by Durkeim?s conception of the efficacy of religion in binding society together by promoting the adherence to common norms and values.[4] From this perspective, members of society are conditioned to think in way that is in alignment with the norms and values of the supreme authority.

  1. The Catholic Church analyzed. The reoccurring presence of statues and gold within Holy ...

    In fact, the nuns were all wearing black and white as opposed to the bright colors worn by the Pastor and his ?right hand man?. Karl Marx suggests that society is essentially based on prominent inequalities between those who control economic resources and those who do not (Nye 2008, 58).

  2. Is religion really in decline in the west or is it merely changing?

    Protestantism began to discourage the idea that individuals could simply admit to their sins in order to achieve absolution. An anxiety therefore began to build amongst particular Protestants. For instance, Calvinism taught predestination, which suggested that God had already decided each person?s fate after death.

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