Mahmut Sait Arslan
04 January 2013
The Role Of Religion in A Secular Society
According to secularization theory, as societies become more modernized and rationalized, religion will gradually lose it’s authority in social life and governance(Norris & Inglehart, 2004, p.4). Modernization did “undermined” lots of accepted beliefs(Holloway, 2011, para.7). But, by contrast with secularization thesis, there is no significant diminution in people’s religious demands(Kuru, 2011, p.4). Appearently, not all modernized societies call themselves as “secular” and not every secular state can completely ignore religion. In this work, I’m going to inspect secular societies and question how religion can take part in their governance, concerning American, French and Turkish examples. Historically, American’s and French have seperated the church and state for different reasons. The establishment of secular state in America was a result of a compromise between rationalists and evangelists. These groups have agreed on the secular state for different reasons. Thomas Jefferson, one of the America’s Founding Fathers, had foreseen that the secular state would lead to the “freedom and triumph of the reason”. Oppositely, a famous Evangelist, Isaac Backus had believed that secular state would provide the spread of the religion(Kuru, 2011, p.84). Because in America’s early years, none of the Protestant churches could provide the majority that is necessary to be legitimized as the official church. So, as the second best choice, they accepted the state to be secular(Kuru, 2011, p.86). The secularization of the France is rooted in the ideas of Enlightenment. Philosophers of Enlightenment was trying to replace dogmatic values with rational and humanistic ones(Wikipedia, 2009). After the French Revolution, with the abolition of monarchy, the close relation between the French State and Catholic Church finished. According to Tocqueville, Christianity was the object of aggression not as a...
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