2005

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Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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Secularisation Theory

"Secularisation Theory: Will Modern Society Reject Religion?" by Vexen Crabtree (2006)

I just heard an interesting article on the BBC world service from their 'reporting religon' program about the growth of Fanatical evangelical's and some other areas.
I'd be tempted to disagree with the idea of decline of religion within a modern society. While there has been a trend I think it is easy for this to change as with the US being a good example of many people still having strong relgious tendancies.
I would more put it that the increase of the middle class and of contentment with thier lives people tend to become more apathetic towards all aspects of 'society'; declining attendance at political polls probably being the most obvious. Anyway that's my two pence worth :)

Yes, the Evangelical and Fundamentalist wings of Christianity are growing rapidly within Christianity; but still the overal numbers of Christians have been dropping rapidly since the 1950s, across all Western countries.

With one exception; all Industrial countries have been following the same trend. Likewise, all third-world countries follow another trend. The USA, where modern Fundamentalist Christianity comes from, is the sole exception to the rule, and it follows the third-world pattern of religion.

Some sociologists say this is due to the unique flows of immigration into the USA; the large numbers of immigrants causes nationals to more strongly affirm their religious identities (which are different to those of the foreigners), which then leads to fundamentalism. I don't quite know if this 'identity conflict' theory is really the whole story, but back to your comment...

Religion is definately declining in modern society - in everyway it is possible to measure religious belief and practices, it has been in constant decline for forty years. There are exceptions (the USA, fundamentalism, etc) but these exceptions aren't big enough to change the overall trend. Some fear that these *will* eventually buck secularisation, but for now that isn't on the horizon, and it may never be (apart from in the USA, which is behaving oddly).

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/stats.html lays out some hard statistics, and http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/rib.html is a massive and comprehensive presentation of the decline of religion in the UK.

I, on the other hand, see a huge uprising in my city.

In London?

From my page on Religion in London (2001 Census results):

Religion in London:
"London has the highest proportion of Muslims (8.5 per cent), Hindus (4.1 per cent) Jews (2.1 per cent) Buddhists (0.8 per cent) and people of other religions (0.5 per cent). [...]
Fifty-eight per cent of people in London gave their religion as Christian, with the highest proportion in the borough of Havering (76 per cent). Thirty-six per cent of the population of Tower Hamlets and 24 per cent in Newham are Muslim. Over one per cent of the population of Westminster are Buddhist, while Harrow has the highest proportion of Hindus (19.6 per cent) and Barnet the highest proportion of Jewish people (14.8 per cent). Over eight per cent of the populations of Hounslow and Ealing are Sikh.

Sixteen per cent of the population of London say they have no religion, including 25 per cent in the City of London.
"

London has one of the highest rates of Church-loss within Christendom, and one of the lowest rates of priest-procurement. Most London Church staff have to be imported from elsewhere (for example, Poland).

There might be mini-uprisings in some areas that effect your life, but, the overall trend is that London is massively secular, and becoming more so. Despite this, some very determined religious groups remain enraged by this; the pressure that they feel translates into intense activism on their behalf.

If you can give me specifics of your situation and observations(where/when/examples/who) I'd be grateful, 'cos I'm interested in this sort of thing.

Indeed, I shall do a round, wrap up, I work for the Gov/Council and monitoring is my game! ;)

Hope all and Germany well.

Um....... really??

That's certainly not what I'm seeing, at least here in the U.S. I only WISH that were true, that the world was turning more secular. Maybe that was the case for awhile at different points in history, and even more recently, but it seems to be reversing itself IMHO. Maybe you could expand on this one and offer some ... hope--to those of us who'd love for that to be true but don't quite believe it.

Well the biggest collection of statistics I have is on the UK, http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/rib.html ... the USA is an exception, and religiously it follows third-world trends rather than industrial trends. Socioligists have a plethora of unconvincing theories as to why this is. See my other recent comments on this thread for a little more.

The world itself is declining in religion very slowly... but secularisation theory tied secularism in with development, and as many third-world countries are experiencing massive population explosions, world-wide stats may show an increase in religiosity... especially in Islam, which is the fastest-growing religion now, like Christianity was from 5th century -> 10th.... growing like wildfire.

Hopefully though, Islam is reaching the pinacle of its dark ages, and will (on a scale of hundreds of years) show some tiny signs of an enlightenment-era recovery (for example: Turkey). If so, overall world-numbers will drop in sync with Islamic modernisation. Otherwise, secularisation will remain an aspect of non-Muslim countries.

Christianity in the USA *is* declining - but the energetic and power-hungry activism of Christian extremists is making it look like the opposite is true: Most converts to fundamentalist Christianity are other Christians, not atheists or other religions... their success may only last a while. BUT... if fundamentalism's growth reverses the trend, the USA will enter a technological decline (example: stem cell research), and that might shock its laxidasical atheists into action.

Yes, the U.S. is behaving oddly. I've witnessed a confusing trend from just how secular the country was back in the 70's to how ridiculously infiltrated and "pious" it's become just in the last ten years. I wonder how much of it has to do with harder economics (people seeking solace and security in certain times) and how much really does have to do with immigration.

The Islam trend is particularly disturbing, with the current interviews available on the 'net depicting what I suppose is the fundamentalist Islamics (at least, I hope that's who it is!) expressing their blatant and fervor desire to wipe out all other religions on the planet until only those who worship Allah remain. o.O

The U.S. is being threatened with a technological decline, although once Bush is gone (and is hopefully not replaced by someone just as bad), that might lessen. Right now, it's not just atheists who are becoming more active in that regard. However, if politics is continually infiltrated with the [more intolerant] religiously-minded (see this: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rodriguez16jul16,0,1292531.column?coll=la-opinion-columnists for one view), religion will have no way of declining, and the Christians know this, why is why they're working very hard to make sure they hold and grab more power in Washington and at the state level. (I think you have to be living here, following the various news & radio programs to really get a feel for just how bad it is.)

Your statistics are probably right, and the rest of the world is experiencing a decline. I say, good. Too bad the U.S. has its head up its ass on this one! (To that I say, bad.) Then again, if this nation doesn't get its shit together fairly soon, it's on its way to becoming a third world country anyway....

Come on Guys you must have better things to do than to spend all your days attaching religion. I know a lot about christianity and a lot of the accusations you are making are completely unfounded. Please make sure you are 100% sure of the facts before you start slagging everyone else but yourself off

If you want to be useful can you provide some of the missing facts?

And... I do not "attack religion", I merely teach the truth. Many religions have at their core dogmatic mythologies that are untrue; therefore as long as I continue to search for the truth, and teach what rational facts I can fathom, I will tend to find myself conflicting with religion.

Truth is truth, and I won't let misguided politeness prevent me from pointing out obvious delusions.

Truth?

(Anonymous)

2009-10-02 12:35 pm (UTC)

If your aim is to teach the truth you should make a point of using less dated sources and theories, this stuff would have gone down really well in a sociology class 30 years ago but it doesn't reflect what's happening in the sphere of religion on a global scale today.

For example?

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