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30 Cards in this Set

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Statistic showing secularisation

baptism of children fell from 55% in 1991 to 41% in 2005





clergy fell from 45000 in 1900 to 34000 in 2000 at a time where the population has doubled.

Webers view of rationalisation

The process of which religious thinking has been replaced by rational and scientific explanations.




Advancement in science undermines religions.

Evaluation of Weber rationalisation

Some of life questions cannot be answered by religion such as what happens after death and so religion would always be important.

Parsons structural differentiation as an explanation of secularisation

The process of whereby specialisation occurs with the development of industrial society.




Carry out specific functions and so the church no longer performs such functions such as education, thus leading to the disengagement of religion. No longer rely on the church and has started to become disconnected from wider society.

Evaluation of Structural differentiation

By no longer performing other function such as welfare or education. the church can focus on its true purpose - spirituality




Bishop still sit in on House Of Lords

Social cultural diversity as an explanation of secularisation

The move from pre industrial society to industrial society means that there is less shared values expressed through collective religious rituals that integrated individuals and regulated their behaviour.




Bruce sees industrialisation as undermining the consensus of religious beliefs that hold small rural communities together as now there are more large loose knit urban communities with diverse beliefs and values. This undermines plausibility of religions.

Religious diversity as an explanation of secularisation (Berger)

The catholic church no longer hold a canopy and monopoly of truth like they once did. Society is no longer unified under a single shared canopy and the vast range of religions creates a crisis of credibility for religion. Religion is undermined by other religions and the truth is simply personal views.

Evaluation of Berger?

Berger changed his views and now argues diversity and choice actually stimulates interest and participation in religion.




Beckford, Opposing views can have the effect of strengthening a religious groups commitment rather than undermining them.

Cultural defence and transition as opposition of secularisation theory (Bruce)

Higher than average levels of religious participation:




Cultural defence - where religion provides a focal point of defense of a national, ethnic, local group identity in a struggle against external forces




Cultural transition - Where religion provides support and a sense of community for ethnic groups.

Criticism of cultural defence and transition?

Bruce argues that religion survives in such situations only because it is a focus for group identity, thus these examples do not disprove secularisation but religion is more likely to survive by performing functions other than relating individuals to the supernatural.




For example, church going declined after the fall of communism in Poland and there is evidence that religion loses importance for migrants once they are integrated in society.

The spiritual revolution

Heelas and Woodland investigate whether traditional religions decline and if so how far the growth of spirituality has compensated for this.


Distinguish between two groups; Congregational domain and the holistic milleu.




they found that 7.9% of the population attended chuch whle 1.6% participated in the hoslitic milleu.




Appeal to the people and so have a right to choose.




Conclude that a spiritual movement has not taken place as the holistic milleu has not compensated for traditional religions.



Bruce - declining church attendance in America

Opinion poll suggests that church attendance has been stable at 40% since 1940




However, Kirk Hadaway find this figure did not match since if 40% Americans were attending church, it would be ful and they weren't.




They also found by studying church attendance in Ohio through counting and interviews, that interviewees claimed 83% higher of church attendees than they found.





Bruce - Secularisation from within in America

The purpose of religion has changed from seeking salvation in Heaven to seeking personal improvement in this world. The decline in commitment to beliefs can be seen in people's attitude and lifestyles and church goers are less strict and have diluted religions to attract followers.




Religion has become a psychologised or turned into a form of therapy to enable it to fit in with a secular society.

Bruce - religious diversity in America

Undermines whether or not the views of our religion are true.




Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. For example, Lynd and Lynd's study found 1924 that 94% of church going people agreed with this statement - Christianity is the one true religion and everyone should convert to it in contrast to only 41% in 1977.

Criticisms of Secularisation Theory

Religion is not declining but simply changing its form.




One sided = focus on Christianity




Evidence of church goers ignore those who believe but don't go to church




Secularisation is not universal




The past was not a golden age of faith from which we have declined and the future will not be an age of Atheism.





Problems associated with the Secularisation debate

Golden Age




Defining religion - inclusive and exclusive




Defining secularisation




Measuring secularisation




Not a singular process as it includes looking at international and national




Ethnocentric

Davie believing without belonging theory

Religion is not declining but simply changing its form - become more privatised where people worship at home rather than church as it is no longer feel they have to or it is no longer disrespectful.

Criticism of Davie - Voas and Croakett and bruce

Voas and Croakett reject his view as evidence from British attitudes show that from 1983 to 2000, both belief in God and Church attendance was declining and if he was right, belief in god would remain steady or increase.




Bruce argues that if people are not willing to invest time n going church, this reflects the growing decline in strength of beliefs as if people no longer believe, they wish to no longer belong.

What does Hervieu Leger argue?

Spiritual shopping where parents no longer enforce religion on their children - no longer inherit a fixed religion but there is a greater freedom to choose your own religion.


While traditional religions have declined, religion itself has not disappeared where consumerism has replaced collective tradition.




greater choice what people choose:either pilgrims or converts.

What does Hervieu Leger note regarding religions influence on society

the values of equality and human rights have their roots in religion and so such values can be source of shared cultural identity and social solidarity.

Add Lyon

Add Lyon

How Stark and Bainbridge evaluate secularisation theory

It fails on the decline of religion in Europe and fails to explain the continuing vitality in America and elsewhere.




There was no golden age in the past and there is no future of Atheism.



What are the two main assumptions of Stark and Bainbridge religious market theory?

People are naturally religious and religion meets the needs and therefore the overall demand stays constant, even though the demand for particular types may vary.




It is human nature to seek rewards and avoids costs and so when people make choices, they weigh up the costs and benefits of options available.




Religion is attractive since it provides us with compensator - life after death.

What is Stark and Bainbridge alternative to secularisation theory

the concept of religous decline, revival and renewal. For example, when church declines, it leaves a gap in the market for sects and cults.




Church acts like a companies selling goods in a market where secularisation theory sees different religions as undermining religions but competition leads to improvements in the services on offer to attract customers.

Stark and Bainbridge America Vs Europe

The demand for religion increases when there are different sorts to choose from because consumers can find one that suits their needs. By contrast where there i a monopoly of religion with no competition, the church has no incentives to provide the people with what they want.


This is the difference between America and Europe where America religions thrive as they have competition due to the constitutional rights




Participation increase when there is a larger supply but declines when supply is restricted/

Criticisms of Stark And Bainbridge

Bruce rejects the view that diversity and competition increase the demand for religion - statistics show that diversity has been accompanied by religious decline in both America and Europe.




Bruce argues that Stark and Bainbridge misrepresent the secularisation theory as they dont claim a golden age or a future of Atheism. It simply claims religion is in long term decline.




Norris and Inglehart show a high level of religious participation exist in catholic countries where the church has almost a monopoly such as Ireland and Venezuela and low participation in countries with religion pluralism - Holland and Australia.




beckford criticises religious market theory and sociological as it assumes people are religious but don't explain why they make the choices they do.

Norris and Inglehart different levels of religiosity?

Poor Societies - Where people face life threatening risks such as famine, disease have high levels f insecurities, thus high levels of religiosity. Poor people who live in rich society also face greater insecurity and there more religiosity.




Rich Societies - Where popel have high standards of living and are at less risk have greater sense of security and less levels of religiosity.




This explains why third world countries remain religious while more prosperous western countries have become secular.

Norris and Inglehart - Europe vs America View

In Europe, the trend is toward secularisation as there is greater security, and more equal than most others with a well developed welfare system which reduces poverty and protects those at the bottom.




By contrast, America remains more religious as America is the most unequal of rich societies with an inadequate welfare system and therefore higher levels of insecurities and more religiosity.




They point out that america is more religious than Europe, but poorer countries are more religious than America

Study to support Norris and Inglehart

Gill and Lundegaarde who found the more a country spends on welfare, the lower level of religious participation.




Also notes that in the past, religion used to provide welfare for the poor and in many poor countries still do but not the state does leading to secularisation.




Does not expect religion to disappear fully however as welfare meets the needs of security but not for answering life's ultimate questions.

Evaluation of Norris and Inglehart

They use only quantitative data about income levels, they dont examine people's own definiotn of security - Vasquez argues that qualitative data is also needed.




Norris and Inglehart only see the religion as a negative response to deprivation - they ignore the positive reasons which may also appeal to the rich.