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fathers; Durkheim, Marx and Weber. The term secular refers to being without religion, in the UK for example; we have a secular democracy as opposed to countries such as; Iran who mix both religion and state. Furthermore the term secularization defines a society or culture where the process of the loss and decline of religion is highly evident. The term secularization would refer to the UK however in a highly researched paradox; the US are at the opposite end of the spectrum being widely and devoutly religious. From the period of 1950 to 1996 statistic describing religious affiliation as none rose from 23% to 46% in the UK, however this statistic is said to be criticised due to its vague nature in wording spirituality and belief go hand in hand and the question of the matter was deemed highly misleading. The question as to whether secularization is actually occurring in the UK has been addressed by theorists of sociology and theology and has also been apparent throughout history. There have been various epochs or transitions throughout history and theorists have summarized these in to three distinct categories with regards to religious change. The pre-modern, modern and Post-modern era has been widely discussed and we can see a definitive change in religion throughout all stages. The Pre-modern era of the 1500 s was categorized by a devout adherence to religion. Communal life was categorized by religious faith and faith was strong and binding. Morals and values were strictly adhered to in the family and families were found to be extremely close knit living together in large groups. The pre-modern era was the age of the devine right ; being ruled by Kings and Queens who believed to be God-sent . This meant that tyranny was widely experienced with many royal members dictating rules and governing to suit their own needs and wants. Many cases of beheading and murder occurred due to the high Godlike po wer of the royals and King George v was an example of this. The discrimination of the Devine right led to riots and revolutions and the changing thought of many influential individuals. Religious morals were said to be absolute, no individual carried any right to challenge the church or its teachings, education,
charity and medical help was provided solely by the church. As time progressed and attitudes changed, we see the emergence of the Modern times. This is described as around the time of industrialisation and where capitalism comes in to full play. The church was still influential; however it did not hold quite the same powers as it once had. Royals were replaced by ministers of the state to debate and argue rules and legislation. There became a clear cut separation of church and state, the state governed while the church provided a sense of spiritual reverence. The introduction of science and medicine occurred however it was highly governed by the church, only experimentation on criminals and the criminally insane was allowed for many years until even that declined and postmortem examinations became a thing of the norm. The belief of body and spirit dualism was lost and individuals started to believe in the spirit as separate from the body. Due to capitalism and industrialisation, family ties became looser, obedience to society was more important than obedience to church as society and the workplace gave the foundations to live. Society evolved in to urban cities and work hours became longer this resulted in to the notion of the weekend being for individual pleasure, a decline in church attendance was witnessed and a change in church goers also. The majority of church followers were women and children with the male breadwinner staying at home or reluctantly attending, again this began to change with the introduction of women in to the workforce and the beginning of acceptance of equal rights for genders. The post-modern era then shifted in to play. A need and thirst for knowledge was followed by a need for evidential truths, the claims of the church were diminished slightly as many individuals wanted absolute knowledge. The claims which were once held in faith were questioned; individuals began looking to education and science as a provider for knowledge and not the church. This resulted in a lessening of authority for church morals and views, individuality is said to be praised in the present post-modern era which differs from the communal living of the church religion becomes a private matter with solitary prayer and individual beliefs the growth of new religious movements increase with modern wants and needs of a better faith. Theorist Durkheim predicted the decline of religion and stated that it was there simply to give the
individual a sense of belonging and identity the increase of different functional systems would result in individuals seeking belonging elsewhere. Marx stated that religion was simply a distraction from the capitalist crisis ensuing. The decline of religion was autonomous with the increase of capitalism and the feeding of individuals with pleasures only obtained through work and capital ways. Weber stated that religion was needed in order to increase work ethic, the start of industrialization saw employers actively encourage church attendance however the system has been engrained in to the state so long that work ethic is now seen as a norm and not something the church can give. In 2005 on 6.3% of the adult population attended church regularly, this is said to decrease to 4% by 2015. There are many other contemporary new theories which attempt to describe the decline of religion in the UK, industrialization again is said to be one dominant theory, Berger (1967) states that industrialization is the process by which society is removed from religion and entered in to the workforce. Religion thus loses its power and importance in society and thus loses its roles within its substructure. There was an evident decline in the social standing of roles in society and also religious institutions were viewed to be removed or diminished significantly, an example of this would be education with the rejection of church education and the want for state governed educational systems. The extent to which people actively practiced religion declined and this is said to be due to an increased workload and the introduction of weekend working hours or activities. Rationalization is also said to be a reason as to the decline in significance of religion. The increased knowledge of other areas including science and medicine has led to individuals needing and demanding absolute truths. The need and thirst for evidence has proved significant in the decline of religious power as many individuals lose faith so to speak as for religious claims. Spiritual phenomenon s such as exorcism and stigmata have been argued by science and evidence against such acts has been provided, religion has not been able to offer any such evidence as to why such events occur or proof of the said events being of a spiritual and not psychologically medical area. Functional aspects of religion have also declined, the church was once responsible for a variety of
needs including medicine, education, finance and housing. There are now a number of institutions and charities who are able to provide this to the individuals in the community including the local council, government and charitable organizations. The separation of church and state is said to be significant as we can see societies with church interference with state have increased levels of religiousness, the UK however has a clear separation and a democratic government the increase of such government influence has decreased church influence and the link proves similar in other secular countries. Religious pluralism has also been seen to occur. There is a certain lack of religious autonomy with the emergence of new religious movements such as rastafari and scientology. Individuals don t practice the same faith anymore, new cultures are moving to the UK and with it bringing new morals and belief systems, religious subsystem has suffered consequently and a decline in adherence is effectively witnessed. There have been said to be three levels of society which saw a decline in religion; social structure, culture and individual belief. Almost every aspect of society has seen a decline in religious power. Berger and Luckman (1967) theorised on the privatization of religion as a high factor in its influential decline. Religious groups and faiths have become privatized and where once beforean individual may have openly spoke of religious denomination, there is a drop in openness surrounding which religion if any an individual follows. People in society hold their own morals and values, it is these morals and values which lead to an individual sense of identity the church is no longer responsible for producing this identity it is the responsibility of the individual which religion and which belief they trust in and subsequently follow. The privatization of religion has also resulted in religion being held to its own sphere, no longer is it able to justify its overarching claims, claims made by religious groups are kept inside the subsystem and do not reach out in to the wider public sphere. This has meant a loss of authority over public spheres and sectors. Religious institutions as a whole have lost power,Momen (1999) offers 5 reasons why religion has declined many of them overlapping what I have previously written. Firstly the loss of the sacred;
religious views are no longer sacred and holy they are challenged and argued by knowledge and post-modernism. The loss of religious institutions to the state, the concern that religion is teaching about issues in public society and not their own subsystem religion is said to have transformed itself in to a more modern institution however the decline is still evident. The separation of church and state and the decline in religious influence. Almost every aspect of society which was once governed by religion is said to have modernised and changed, religion has held static and it is said to be due to this that a lot of the power once held has diminished. The debate of whether religion is actually in decline or whether we are practicing a new form of religion is rife, new religious movements spring up almost every week some theorists have even gone as far as to state that capitalism has become the new religion the worship of money and the belief of what it brings. Possible future trends of religious autonomy are considered vague, as a social scientist we are unsure as to whether the 4% Includes new religious movements or not and also if spirituality is included in this category. Another possible theory is that religious structure may change (or have been changing) completely. The modernization of religion may possibly create a new way of worship, however having said this statistics do show that religion will decline it is maybe possible that it not be in our lifetime that the ultimate erasure of religion be seen, the probability is that religion wont completely dissipate for decades as of now all researchers may possibly do is provide their theory as to why, who or what religion will become.
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