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Inter Faith

Inter Faith

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Published by Farzana Yasmin

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Published by: Farzana Yasmin on Sep 07, 2012
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1. What do Secular, Secularisation, and SecularisationTheory Mean?
...the ongoing, growing, and powerful movement called secularism, a way of understandingand living that is indifferent to religion -- in fact, not even concerned enough to pay it anyattention, much less oppose it.
 
National Council of Churches
1
 The word
secular 
denotes something that is not religious innature. So, many people are not religious so they lead
secular lives
. But belief and practice aren't synonymous, so manythings can be secular in nature even though the individualsinvolved are religious.
You can therefore have a seculargovernment, whose activities are not religious and who doesnot codify or represent a particular religion. This is thenorm in democratic countries.
The individuals that make up thegovernment are rightly free to have whatever religion theywant, as are the populace. Because of this freedom, in amulticultural world, there is a requirement for governmentsnot to cause resentment or divisions by identifying itselfwith a particular religion.
The most well-known phrase proposing secular democracy as an ideal is Jefferson's "wallof separation between church and state" [paraphrased].
 Secularisation is the process of things becoming more secular.Most of the Western world has seen this paradigm come todominate politics and civil life,starting from the time ofthe Enlightenment.Secularisation Theory is the theory in sociology that associety advances, religion retreats. Intellectual andscientific developments have undermined the spiritual,supernatural, superstitious and paranormal ideas on which
 
religion relies for its legitimacy. Therefore, religionbecomes more and more "hollow", surviving for a while on emptyuntil loss of active membership forces them into obscurity.The evidences and shortcomings of this theory are discussedlater in this text.Some take the process of secularisation as a personal affront,and think that mere
lack of bias
from government implies anactive
attack
. They see any reduction in (their own) publicreligion to be bad, and apparently they do not understand thecauses or reasons behind the secularisation of officialdom.Hopefully this page will address this.
2. Secularisation Theory
Secularisation theory explains that as modern society advancesit will become increasingly secular, and religion will becomeincreasingly hollow. Since therise of science in the 17thCentury, sociological commentators have realised that religionmay be in a permanent decline, and some have proposed thescience and intelligence, both rooted in the Enlightenment,are anathema to religious faith. Karl Marx (1818-1883),Durkheim (1857-1917), Max Weber (1864-1920), the founders ofsociology, and William James (lectures from 1901-1902) arefour eminent men who all noted this decline. My page
page showexamples and charts of what this long-term decline looks like,in terms of memberships, attendance and beliefs, etc.
The three 'classical' sociological theorists, Marx, Durkheimand Weber [all] thought that the significance of religionwould decrease in modern times. Each believed that religion isin a fundamental sense an illusion. The advocates of differentfaiths may be wholly persuaded of the validity of the beliefsthey hold and the rituals in which they participate, yet thevery diversity of religions and their obvious connections todifferent types of society, the three thinkers held, makethese claims inherently implausible.
 "
" by Anthony Giddens (1997)
2
 
 
There is a notion in the air about us that religionis probably only an anachronism, a case of "survival," anatavistic relapse into a mode of thought which humanity in itsmore enlightened examples has outgrown; and this notion ourreligious anthropologists at present do little to counteract.This view is so widespread at the present day that I mustconsider it with some explicitness before I pass to my ownconclusions.
 "
" by William James(1902)
3
 Moojan Momen (1999) says there are five ways of looking atsecularisation:1.
 
"Decline of popular involvement in institutionalizedreligion. This can be seen in the decline in churchattendance, with fewer marriages, baptisms and funeralsbeing performed under religious auspices."2.
 
"The loss of prestige of religious institutions andsymbols" and the decline in influence of religiousorganisations.3.
 
"The separation of society from the religious world, sothat religion becomes purely personal matter."4.
 
The loss of the idea of the sacred. "As scienceincreases our understanding of humanity and of theworld, the area of 'mystery' and the supernaturaldecrease."5.
 
"Religious groups themselves become increasinglyconcerned with the things of this world rather than thespiritual world."Point one is comprehensively illustrated on my page onstatistics of religion in Britain. Point five is clearlyillustrated by the reaction of modern religionists to secular

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