Twin Histories, Oxford University Press,pp. To many, a principle that once seemed axiomatic now appears as little more than an ideological postulate disguised as an historical and sociological theory. This shift has inevitably affected those who are regarded as the originators of the thesis, including perhaps most notably Max Weber. His interpretation of seventeenth-century Protestantism has been criticized by historians and theologians alike; and his decision to present the Puritans in particular as the privileged ancestors of modern secularity has often appeared idiosyncratic at best.
Secularization perspectives are varied, but in general there are three levels upon which secularization is theorized to occur see Tschannen Another source of contention is whether all three levels of secularization are necessarily linked together or whether processes at one level may occur without those at another.
Yet there has never been a single theory of secularization. A family of theories drew on classical sociological theory. Durkheim posited that increasing social differentiation as a result of the expanding social division of labor would lead to the separation of the sacred and secular realms.
Marx saw religion as little more than an ideological system for the justification and perpetuation of class domination, arguing that as class consciousness and materialism advanced religion would disappear. Within this broad consensus, however, there are a variety of theoretical positions.
Peter Berger offers a micro-level version of the theory that focuses on the plausibility of religious concepts. When religious adherents encounter credible others with rival and fully incompatible claims to ultimate truth, their own certitudes begin to suffer.
In liberal societies, multiple religious and secular groups jostle for influence on the basis of philosophical and ethical claims, undercutting each of their claims to predominance, and ultimately leading to the privatization of religion in civil society. There is also a macro version of the theory.
Economic development almost inevitably brings the decline of religion, parochialism and cultural differences. More recently, the modernization theory of secularization has been modified.
Neo-modernization theory now rejects the linear implications of past formulations and seeks to link the micro and macro-levels in its explanation for religious change. The key micro-level factor is now held to be existential insecurity; the greater that insecurity, the more likely that people will be religious.
But where economic, political and social conditions have improved such that personal security improves, religion loses its impact. There is no unified theory of secularization, and some of the mechanisms proposed by secularization theorists seem to remain obscure. On the contrary, it is an age of exuberant religiosity, much of it in the form of passionate movements with global outreach.
Others note that secularization often appears to be an intentional political project, rather than a spontaneous socio-cultural development Smith ; Froese Many studies identify the central role played by church—state institutions in causing variation in secularization across societies.
Political mobilization on the basis of religion is often triggered by the efforts of political elites to reduce the public role of religion institutional secularization or extend governmental authority to domains previously organized by religious organizations.
State regulation or penetration into areas once dominated by religion often provokes conflict, especially where it threatens the influence of religious authorities. Finally, there are the new cultural approaches to secularization theory that argue against linear secularization narratives but still contend that secularization is manifest in the pluralism of religious worldviews and highly individualized assemblages of religious and supernatural beliefs.
As is becoming apparent in Europe and the United States, even where belief in the supernatural remains, denominational and confessional attachments appear to be weakening. As a result, religious preferences are becoming more individualized, the status of orthodox religious authorities is diminishing, and growing proportions of people seek a spirituality divorced from conventional religion Lambert Secularization in the West.
Public Religions in the Modern World. University of Chicago Press. Parameters of Faith in the Modern World. Dartman, Longman, and Todd.
The Plot to Kill God: Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization.The so-called secularization thesis — the notion that the world is becoming ever less religious — has been subjected to some rough handling in the last fifteen or twenty years.
To many, a principle that once seemed axiomatic now appears as little more than an ideological postulate disguised as. Clava Brodsky Perils of the Future: A Discussion of Marx’s Secularization Thesis PERILS OF THE FUTURE: A D ISCUSSION OF MARX ’S SECULARIZATION THESIS Clava Brodsky – is a PhD student, Columbia University in the City of New York (New York, United States).
The author points to the fact that Weber himself rarely used the term “secularization,” though the idea is an important theme in much of his work.
In this paper, the idea of secularization is examined in the context of Weber's work, paying special attention to the specific processes he had in mind whenever he referred to it.
Marx saw religion as little more than an ideological system for the justification and perpetuation of class domination, arguing that as class consciousness and materialism advanced religion would disappear. Berger (), once a prominent proponent of the secularization thesis, now declares, “Our age is not an age of secularization.
On. Marx saw religion as little more than an ideological system for the justification and perpetuation of class domination, arguing that as class consciousness and materialism advanced religion would disappear. Berger (), once a prominent proponent of the secularization thesis, now declares, “Our age is not an age of secularization.
On. April 16, The Secularisation Thesis. The secularisation thesis – the idea that traditional religions are in terminal decline in the industrialised world – was perhaps the central debate in the sociology of religion in the second half of the 20th century.