"Anti-Religious Forces: Specific Factors Fuelling Secularisation" by Vexen Crabtree (2003) 1. What do Secular, Secularisation, and Secularisation Theory Mean? 2. Secularisation Theory
1. The Dalai Lama Defends Secularism as a Way to Respect All Religion 2. S. Bruce Defends Secularisation Theory (1996)
3. Religion in Europe
4. The Defiers of Secularisation
1. What do Secular, Secularisation, and Secularisation Theory Mean? “...the ongoing, growing, and powerful movement called secularism, a way of understanding and living that is indifferent to religion -- in fact, not even concerned enough to pay it any attention, much less oppose it.” National Council of Churches1
The word secular denotes something that is not religious in nature. So, many people are not religious so they lead secular lives. But belief and practice aren't synonymous, so many things can be secular in nature even though the individuals involved are religious. You can therefore have a secular government, whose activities are not religious and who does not codify or represent a particular religion. This is the norm in democratic countries. The individuals that make up the government are rightly free to have whatever religion they want, as are the populace. Because of this freedom, in a multicultural world, there is a requirement for governments not to cause resentment or divisions by identifying itself with a particular religion. The most well-known phrase proposing secular democracy as an ideal is Jefferson's "wall of 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 to dominate politics and civil life, starting from the time of the Enlightenment. Secularisation Theory is the theory in sociology that as society advances, religion retreats. Intellectual and scientific developments have undermined the spiritual, supernatural, superstitious and paranormal ideas on which religion relies for its legitimacy. Therefore, religion becomes more and more "hollow", surviving for a while on empty until loss of active membership forces them into obscurity. The evidences and shortcomings of this theory are discussed later in this text. Some take the process of secularisation as a personal affront, and think that mere lack of bias from government implies an active attack. They see any reduction in (their own) public religion to be bad, and apparently they do not understand the causes or reasons behind the secularisation of officialdom. Hopefully this page will address this. 2. Secularisation Theory
Secularisation theory explains that as modern society advances it will become increasingly secular, and religion will become increasingly hollow. Since the rise of science in the 17th Century, sociological commentators have realised that religion may be in a permanent decline, and some have proposed the science 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 of sociology, and William James (lectures from 1901-1902) are four eminent men who all noted this decline. My page Religion in the United Kingdom: Diversity, Trends and Decline page show examples and charts of what this long-term decline looks like, in terms of memberships, attendance and beliefs, etc. “The three 'classical' sociological theorists, Marx, Durkheim and Weber [all] thought that the significance of religion would decrease in modern times. Each believed that religion is in a fundamental sense an illusion. The advocates of different faiths may be wholly persuaded of the validity of the beliefs they hold and the rituals in which they participate, yet the very diversity of religions and their obvious connections to different types of society, the three thinkers held, make these claims inherently implausible.” "Sociology" by Anthony...