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May 2, 2018 / C H Thompson

Aspects of Secularisation

Religion can be defined in two ways:

  • Exclusivist model of religion – a narrow definition for what constitutes as religion
  • Inclusivist definition – broader, possibly including political movements and value systems like humanism

Secularisation in Britain:

  • Many sociologists claim that the 19th century was the golden age of religiosity
  • In the mid-19th century, 40% of people attended church.
  • This has decreased to 10-15% in the 1960’s.

Religion today

  •  More people claim they hold Christian beliefs than actually belonging or going to church
  • Not only have religious beliefs and practice declined, but so has the influence of religions as a social institution.

Measuring secularisation – problems with measuring it – how can sociologists measure:

    • Loss of some of its functions
    • Internal secularisation of religious institutions
    • The level of secular mind-sets
    • Disengaging from religion

 Explanations of secularisation – Bruce -> a technological view of religion:

  • The growth of technological worldview has largely replaced religious or supernatural explanations as to why things happen

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