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Rise of Modern Science: Secularization

Oct 08, 1999 575 Words
The word secularization is derived from the Latin word saeculum(world) it was first used to refer the transfer of property from the church to the civil princes. Now it denotes the process by which religion loses some or all of its power, dominance and authority. Secularization as a concept refers to the actual historical process whereby this dualist system “ this world” and the sacramental structures of mediation between this world and the other world progressively breakdown until the entire medieval systems of classification disappear, to be replaced by new systems of spatial structuration of the spheres. The structured division of “this world” into two separate spheres, “the religious” and “the secular” has to be distinguished and kept separate. From now on, there will be only one single “this world”, the secular one, within which religion will have to find its own place. If before, it was the religious realm which appeared to be the all-encompassing reality within which the secular realm found its proper place, now the secular sphere will be the all-encompassing within which religious sphere will have to adapt. There are several conceptions of secularization.

1. Decline of religion
2. Differentiation of institution, practices and activities from religion 3. Transposition of norms from religion to the world
4. Desacralization of the world
5. Conformity of religion to the world
There are also causes of secularization
1. Industrialization
2. Urbanization
3. Some beliefs and practices in Christianity may have fostered some forms of secularization The Three separate moments of secularization
The core and central thesis of the theory of secularization is the conceptualization of the process of societal modernization as a process of functional differentiation and emancipation of the secular sphere from the religious sphere and the concomitant differentiation and specialization of religion within its own newly found religious sphere 1. Differentiation and secularization of society

To view modern historical transformation from the perspective of secularization means to view reality from the perspective of religion since the secular as a concept only makes sense relation to its counterpart, the religious. Weber’s theory of differentiation is a theory of secularization because it views this differentiation from the perspective of radical clash of each of the sphere. Protestant Reformation, formation of modern states, growth of modern capitalism and the early modern scientific revolution. Each of the four developments was one carrier of the process of secularization. Only the economic development affects the rates of secularization. Rise of modern science was one of the key developments that brought about secularization. Science transformed into a scientific worldview, which claimed to have replaced religion the way a new scientific paradigm replaces an outmoded one. 2. Decline of religion thesis

It states that the process of secularization would bring in its wake the progressive shrinkage and decline of religion until, some extreme, it disappeared. Continuous decline of religion in Western Europe. Enlightenment and its critique of religion became themselves independent carrier of process of secularization wherever the established churches became obstacles to the modern process of functional differentiation. 3. Privatization of religion thesis

2 theses:
1. As far as the worldviews are concerned, largely completed secularization means that religious belief have become interpretation of life. 2. As far as the institutions are concerned, largely completed secularization means that institutionalized religion has been de-politicized as a result of functional differentiation of society. Privatization of religion is a historical option. Religious roles become specialized within the individual conscious.

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