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Assess The View That Religious Beliefs And Practices Are Changing To Reflect A New Era Of Diversity And Choice. (33 Marks)

1127 words - 5 pages

Assess the view that religious beliefs and practices are changing to reflect a new era of diversity and choice. (33 marks)

Some sociologists reject the secularisations theory, they are beginning to say that instead of religion declining, it is changing, in terms of changing to reflect a new era of diversity and choice.

Sociologists such as Davie argue that religion isn't declining but the need to publicise it is reducing, religion is taking a more privatised form. This can explain the decline in churchgoers; they no longer feel like they have to go to church to be religious, now attending church is a matter of choice rather than society frowning upon those who chose not to go. This ...view middle of the document...

However now it is less likely to find that religious knowledge and beliefs are passed down from generation to generation due to the widespread choice and diversity that has increased. This is reinforced with parents allowing their children to decide for themselves with what to believe. Although it is argued that the trend towards greater equality has undermined the traditional power of the Church to impose religion on people. Although, religion has not disappeared but individual consumerism has replace collective tradition. They now feel they have a choice as consumers of religion and have come ‘spiritual shoppers’ meaning religion has become a personal spiritual journey where we can choose the factors we wish to explore upon. Hervieu-Léger argues that two new religious types are emerging; pilgrims and converts. Due to these new trends religion no longer acts as a source of collective identity that it once did.

Lyon argues that traditional religion is giving way to a variety of new religious forms. He explains that in terms of a shift in recent decades from modern to postmodern society which has a number of features that are changing the nature of religion. Globalisation is one feature which refers to the growing interconnectedness of societies, leading to increased movements of ideas and beliefs across national boundaries. This is due to the media and information technology giving us instantaneous access to the ideas and beliefs of previously remote regions and religions. The media lifts them out of their original local contexts and moves them to a different place and time. As a result religion becomes de-institutionalised; removing them from their original location int he church, they become a cultural resource that individuals adapt for their own purposes.

Lyon also believes that whilst people may have ceased to belong to religious organisations, they have no abandoned religion but have become ‘religious consumers’. One of the effects of having a variety of religious beliefs to choose from is a loss of faith in ‘meta-narratives’ which are theories or worldview that claim to have the authoritative truth. Now we have access to a wide range of different and contradictor religions it is causing some to be sceptical that any one of them is really true. This causes traditional religion to lose their authority and decline. In their place, many new religious movements have emerged that we the consumers can pick and choose from. Lyon criticises secularisation theory...

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