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May 2, 2018 / C H Thompson

Aspects of secularisation theory

Secularisation theory is the argument among sociologists of whether the world is becoming less religious or not. The most common definition of secularisation comes from Wilson who claims that secularisation is the process in which religious institutions, practices, and beliefs lose their significance or importance. Secularisation is said to be the result of social changes brought about by modern, urban and industrial society.

Wilson identified three aspects of secularisation:

  • Religious institutions -> the extent to which religious institutions have maintained their influence in wider society, and of how far that they are actively involved and influence the day-to-day running of wider society.
  • Religious practice -> the things that people do to carry out their religious commitment, such as the extent to which they take part in religious acts of devotion, like attending church or a temple.
  • Religious beliefs -> this is the influence of religion on peoples beliefs and values, such as the importance of religion on their lives, whether they see themselves as religious people, whether they believe in things of the supernatural like Gods or spirits



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