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Religion and Spirituality in the Modern World

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There have been many premises covering the topic of religion and spirituality assisting the understanding of the framework of the modern world. Specifically, two different hypotheses - the secularization hypothesis and the religious transformation hypothesis - aid in grasping this issue. The secularization hypothesis promotes a secular society, replacing religion with modern science and technology. On the other hand, the religious transformation hypothesis explains that religion will be constantly reshaped by modern culture. These hypotheses and their specifics give insight allowing exploration to essentially observe where religion and spirituality are headed in this contemporary world.
The secularization hypothesis conveys religion as an undeveloped way of thinking soon to be overtaken by modern science and technology. This hypothesis rejects the possibility of strong supremacy, along with goals that are “beyond ordinary human flourishing” being seen as preposterous. It also abolishes the “enchanted” sense of the world. Ideas from the French Enlightenment era along with positivism ideas provided the influence for the secularization hypothesis saying religion is undeveloped. During the 19th century, religion among Europeans-especially young adults-had a constant decline, added encouragement to the hypothesis. It is added that individualism helped the view of secularization because the hypothesis turns down the concept of man placed in the social and natural world that has spiritual or “divine purposes”. Atheism can develop from secularization and can be seen in different ways, such as active denial of God and value of religion, or rejecting the daily role of religion in a persons life. The secularization hypothesis also worked to remove religion from most of society, including politics, economics and ethics. Basing everything on science makes the secularization aspect hinge on logical positivism, which is that only science can explain important world problems., where knowledge is always improving but always imperfect. Logical positivists thought a consolidated approach to knowledge could be attained through science. Carnap explained that science is, “all theoretical knowledge, no matter in the field of the social sciences and the so-called humanities...or knowledge based on common sense in everyday life". Logical positivism had generally negative views about religion, making it similar to classical positivism. With it being relied on, values and science become interwoven. This brings up problems such as monism and dialogical theories. If logical positivism includes both values and facts, it creates a paradox, producing an impossibility of determining whether something is evident or not. Mind and body being intertwined causes a contradiction within logical positivism.
All of the empirical data shows that the secularization process can’t be correct. Surveys showed that there is still substantial interestedness in religion. Eighty-four percent of a sample of an international survey classified themselves being part of a religious denomination. There is also a low rate of atheism, ranging from around two percent to fifteen percent. There are also observed trends in modern religion that resemble religion in the past. US attendance rates are at about forty percent. There is a theory saying that locations where there is less religion is caused by identification of the government and religion, such as Europe. As more data gathers, the more secularization is being proven wrong.
The secularization hypothesis not having enough proof brought along the religious transformation hypothesis. This goes against secularization and says there is no straightforward decline in religion. Individuals are becoming more “spiritual” than religious, which is proven with the fact that Europe’s participation in organized religion is declining, and switching to a more ‘individualized religion’. This hypothesis says religion won’t be eliminated, but will become a more individual spiritual practice. “Spiritual but not religious, and vicarious religion-support of religious institutions and others religious practices, but not practiced personally- as other forms of religious seeking. Religious seeking is becoming more evident, as seekers are out after organizations who provide, for personal satisfaction, and dwellers-participants in a particular religious tradition-are decreasing. More and more people are believing that there is truth in many religions rather than just sticking to one religion. Spiritual eclecticism has emerged with people able to choose religious spiritualities creating a more individualized form of religion. New Age religious movements are now reflecting new combinations between religion and spirituality. Religion is still present and will continue to support the religious transformation hypothesis.

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