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RELIGION IN THE MODERN WORLD - PowerPoint

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					         SO1506
Introduction to Sociology 2




   Prof. David Inglis
RELIGION IN
 MODERN
 BRITAIN
    Do we live in a
       secular society?
       - Is Christianity increasingly
       unimportant and irrelevant?
       - What do people believe in?
       - What might be replacing
       Christianity?
       - Is this society WHOLLY secular,
       or not?
Can‟t cover everything

Focus on the UK

Relevant to other north-
 west European
 countries e.g.
 Germany, Scandinavia

Different situations in
 other parts of the
 world (e.g. USA)
         The Secular Society?
1) What is „religion‟?

2) What is „secularisation‟?

3) Religion in the medieval world

4) Challenges to the Catholic Church

5) Measuring secularisation
        WHAT IS
      ‘RELIGION’?
  “a social institution
         involving
  beliefs and practices
           based
upon a conception of the
          sacred”
  (Macionis and Plummer)

SACRED versus PROFANE
 (Spiritual / special versus
   common & everyday)
             WHAT IS
 ‘SECULARISATIO
                     N’?
“the historical decline in
  the importance of the
 supernatural and the
        sacred”
(Macionis and Plummer)

Religion less important in
       people‟s lives:
    1) religious ideas
- 2) religious authorities
      - e.g. priests
Religion in the medieval world
               Catholic Church:

               1) Ideological Role

               2) Political Role

               3) Welfare Role
Challenges to the Catholic Church

             1) Rise of
               Protestantism
             - 16th century
             - Northern Europe
             - New ways of
                worshipping
             - Monopoly on belief
                destroyed
Challenges to the Catholic Church II
2) The rise of science
- Faith versus tests &
  experiments

- God versus Nature

- Culture of rational thought

- Culture of scepticism
New ways of explaining the world

              Mid-19th century:
              Charles Darwin
              Man created by God OR
              Man evolved from apes


              Religion only one way of
              thinking
Challenges to the Catholic Church III
              3) The rise of capitalism

              - revolutionises society

              - the search for profits

              - money is everything
  Karl Marx
              - money replaces God
MEASURING SECULARISATION
Decline in:
1) Influence in society of
   religious institutions

2) Number of people
   involved with churches
   (membership / attendance /
   personnel)

3) Popularity & impact of
   religious beliefs
1) Influence of religious institutions

           a) From Church to Churches
           - competition for influence
           - ‘free market’ in beliefs

           b) Religion and politics separate
           - the State becomes secular

           c) Religion and welfare separate
           - State takes over welfare roles
2) Number of people involved with churches

                              Church membership
                                Church of England:

                              1900: 13.5% of English
                                      people
                                  are members

                                    1990: 3.9 %

     Figures from Steve Bruce, “Religion in Modern Britain”
 
Number of people involved with churches II

                  Church attendance
                  All Christian churches in
                  England & Wales:
                  1851: 50% of adults
                  attend at least once a
                  week
                  1990: less than 10%
Number of people involved with churches III

          Personnel

  Church of England:

  1900:    20,000 priests

  1984     10,000 priests
3) Popularity and impact of religious beliefs
    Much less important
     than 100 years ago?

    Important events in life:
    1990: 1 in 3 English couples
      married in Church

    1993: 30% of children born
      in England baptised by
      Church of England
Popularity and impact of religious beliefs II

Individual‟s beliefs: religiosity


Around 75% of people in UK
believe in some sort of
supernatural power

Only about 4% are atheists