Professor Benjamin Murphy
Gender And Religion
September 26, 2013
The good old days of hunting and gathering
Modernism and industrialism have brought many advantages to society, but also they are some of the biggest enemies that every religion in the world is affronting. Every day there are fewer and fewer religious people in the world because religion is decreasing its power and legitimacy. This process is called secularization. Secularization affects both genders, however males have proven to be more susceptible to it than women.
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity in Massachusetts, has conducted research published in June 2013 about how religion has being changing through the years 1970-2010 in every part of the world and how religiosity is expected to be 10 years after. It is stated in their research “In 1970, nearly 82% of the world’s population was religious. By 2010 this had grown to around 88%, with a projected increase to almost 90% by 2020.” (Center for the Study). Within the research, they mentioned that religion will increase over the years and that the number of non-religious people, which was 19.2% of the total population in 1970, is dropping. However, the Christian percentage is decreasing in many countries. For example, “Canada where Christians fell from 94.5% of the population in 1970 to 69.4% in 2010, with a projected drop to 66.0% by 2020. The United States also saw a large decline in its Christian percentage, from 90.9% of the population in 1970 to 80.1% in 2010 (78.1% by 2020)” (Center for the Study). This decline is also happening with many countries in Europe where Christianity is expected to decrease from 78.6% to 78% of the population. (Center for the Study)
In my opinion, the main reason why religion is decreasing is due to secularization. From 1970 onwards, there have been many technological advances that have caused a decline in human religiosity. One of the reasons why secularization decreases religion is because it encourages reason and technology. According to Ashley Crossman, a writer with a Masters degree and Ph.D. in Sociology from Arizona State University, “In industrial societies, where secularization has progressed the farthest, science has replaced religion as the primary approach to understanding the natural world, while civil law and the state have replaced religion as a source of social control” (Crossman). Another way to picture this is that rationality is erasing irrationality. Technology carries progress, which at same time comes with new innovation in the fields of science and medicine. Scientific discoveries, such as cures for diseases, have encouraged humanity to give up on religion. If modernism and technology encourage rational thought, and it is making human religiosity decrease, then religion can be considered as something irrational. Since women are more likely to believe in religion, the question to respond to now is: why are women more irrational than men? I believe based on the evidence I found, that women are more religious because of the historical background humanity has.
The role of women has changed over the centuries. In prehistoric times humanity was based on nomadic hunting and gathering societies where genre roles were considered equalitarian, men and women worked together to survive in different situations, with no discrimination or superiority. There was flexibility and cooperation between both genders in order to get natural resources. Their sexual division of labor characterized those societies. Men focused on hunting because of their physical strength and women on gathering. It might look like hunting, compared to gathering, was more important, however it is the opposite. It was not 100% secure that men would get some meat every time they went to hunt. Women were the ones that secured food if it was lacking and fed the community every day.
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