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Secularisation

  1. 1. Secularisation Definition secularisation - the activity of changing something (art or education or society or morality etc.) so it is no longer under the control or influence of religion
  2. 2. Characteristics of secularisation <ul><li>Moojan Momen (1999) says there are five ways of looking at secularisation: </li></ul><ul><li>                </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Decline of popular involvement in institutionalized religion. This can be seen in the decline in church attendance, with fewer marriages, baptisms and funerals being performed under religious auspices.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The loss of prestige of religious institutions and symbols&quot; and the decline in influence of religious organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The separation of society from the religious world, so that religion becomes purely personal matter.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>The loss of the idea of the sacred. &quot;As science increases our understanding of humanity and of the world, the area of 'mystery' and the supernatural decrease.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Religious groups themselves become increasingly concerned with the things of this world rather than the spiritual world.&quot; </li></ul>
  3. 3. Secularisation: inevitable? <ul><li>The secularization thesis maintains that secularization is an inevitable feature of the rise of industrial society and the modernization of culture. It is argued that modern science has made traditional belief less plausible; the pluralisation of life-worlds has broken the monopoly of religious symbols; the urbanization of society has created a world which is individualistic and anomic; the erosion of family life has made religious institutions less relevant; and technology has given people greater control over their environment, making the idea of an omnipotent God less relevant or plausible. In this sense, secularization is used as a measure of what Max Weber meant by the rationalization of society. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Criticisms of the secularization <ul><li>It exaggerates the level of commitment to organized religion in pre-modern societies </li></ul><ul><li>equates secularization with the decline of Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>underestimates the importance of new religious movements in so-called secular societies </li></ul><ul><li>cannot easily explain important variations between industrial societies (such as the United States and Great Britain) in terms of the nature and rate of secularization </li></ul><ul><li>fails to consider the role of religion in nationalist culture such as in Poland and Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>overlooks secular alternatives to religion (such as humanism) which may function like a religion without involving a belief in the sacred </li></ul>
  5. 5. Contemporary views of secularisation <ul><li>Maybe the pivotal moment came when Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Laureate in physics, warned that &quot;the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief&quot;” Skeptical Inquirer </li></ul><ul><li>The trend is clear. Those marks of an enduring interest in religion that persist outside the churches are themselves becoming weaker and more rare. If one wants to call those residues 'implicit religion', then one has to recognize that the implicit is decaying in the same way as the explicit. It is not a compensating alternative </li></ul><ul><li>Headline: DALAI LAMA SAYS SECULARISM IS THE TRUE ROUTE TO HAPPINESS </li></ul>

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