READER Å DOC God is Dead Secularization in the West

TEXT É Secularization in the West × Steve Bruce

God is Dead Secularization in the WestS Steve Bruce offers a comprehensive and up Like any Steve Bruce book it's very well written not much jargon and sometimes even funny It gives great information and can be easily read by anyone from any workingstudying background

Steve Bruce × Secularization in the West PDF

Drawing on an international range of example Although it is widely agreed even by churchmen that the influence of religion is declining in many post industrial societies commentators often try to soften the impact of this conclusion by pointing to trends that seem to run in the opposite direction Even if conventional Christianity is becoming weaker they claim radical forms of it are flourishing and represent a spirit of renewal They may also point to manifestations of the New Age as evidence of a seeking after spirituality and freuently maintain that human beings have an inherent need for religion that will always cause it to exist in one form or anotherBruce however will have none of this He regards the decline of religious belief as irreversible in Western liberal democracies especially in Europe; hence the uncompromising title he has given his book He is led to this view not by philosophical or psychological considerations but from a sociological standpoint And in fact the first chapter in his book The Secularization Paradigm is fairly technical and seems to be aimed largely at his fellow professionals It may put off readers who are not familiar with sociological language and concepts which would be a pity because much of the subseuent material in the book is very interesting; such readers should probably skim the first chapter at least to begin withNevertheless Bruce presents certain ideas in his first chapter which are important to recognize at this stage It is commonly supposed that the reason we are becoming secular is increase in scientific knowledge that is incompatible with religious belief Bruce however says that no sociologists regard opposition between Christianity and science as the key to secularization The real enemy of religion he says is relativism the greatest damage to religion has been caused not by competing secular ideas but by the general relativism that supposes that all ideologies are eually true and hence eually falseBruce also makes it clear that his arguments apply to western Europe since the Reformation and to its North American and Australasian offshoots; he does not say that secularization will inevitably occur in other societies though it may He also does not say that the trend is inevitably towards atheism; rather it is towards religious indifferenceBut has there really been a decline in religious belief? Before reading this book I had been largely persuaded by Keith Thomas's argument in Religion and the Decline of Magic 1978 that society in earlier times was less religious than we suppose But Bruce thinks that the original picture of a religious past was broadly right We need not suppose that people in earlier times held correct theological views he says but only that they were much concerned with supernatural beliefs and practices than we areWhen he turns to modern Britain Bruce makes a persuasive case backed by evidence for the view that interest in Christianity in all its forms is declining On present trends which there is no reason to think will be reversed the Methodist Church will finally disappear in about 2031 and the Church of England will by then be reduced to a trivial voluntary association with a large portfolio of heritage property It takes him rather pages to dismiss the New Age but he comes to the same conclusion about it though for different reasons He concedes that certain sections of the population will continue to be interested in spirituality but he does not see any possibility that a coherent shared faith will emerge from thisAt one time notably in the 1970s the house church movement was touted as heralding a Christian revival In the 1990s we had the Toronto Blessing the most recent manifestation of the charismatic movement Journalists and others hailed these things as evidence of Christian revival but Bruce sees them as ways in which conservative evangelical Protestants tried to break out of a stifling orthodoxy Their children he suggests will not have the same incentive to become involved in such activities and will progressively lose interest in all forms of religionThe United States is freuently cited as a major exception to the secularization trend but Bruce makes four claims First there is ample evidence that Christianity is losing power prestige and popularity in the USA I am not myself convinced that this is the case Second Christianity in the USA is changing in ways predicted by his secularization paradigm Third the new Christian Right has not had the impact on the social system that was expected in the 1970s Fourth the differences between Europe and the USA can be explained by the federal and diffuse structure of the USA which allows conservative Christians to construct distinct subcultures in which Christianity preserves some of the hegemony it once possessed in pre industrial EuropeMany readers will find the sociological perspective on religion to be unfamiliar but illuminating Some sections seem to be directed towards specialists but there is ample material here to interest non specialists They should however read with a degree of caution There are as usual today some unfortunate proofreading errors extrication instead of extinction; rights of passage instead of rites of passage And Beatitude is Latin not Greek as stated hereAt a serious level occasional careless phrasing could mislead readers with little knowledge of religion For example we are told that it is a function of established Christianity to say what one must do to attain life after death p157 But postmortem survival has generally been taken for granted in Christianity; the function of religion has been to ensure that one's ultimate destination is heaven rather than hell Again on p158 we read that the clergy are supposed to provide early release from limbo But this is misleading in two ways first the concept of limbo is mainly if not entirely confined to Roman Catholicism and second limbo is a place or state of contentment intended for people such as babies who die unbaptized and so cannot go to heaven; there is no uestion of release from limbo Presumably it was purgatory that Bruce was thinking of here Errors such as these should not exist in a scholarly text and make me rather wary of accepting Bruce's other argumentsAs for Bruce's essential thesis I am not persuaded Religion of one kind or another has existed in practically every society we know of and while there are different explanations for this it does strongly suggest that there is something in human nature that inevitably gives rise to religion And the rise of religious fundamentalism in many societies across the world today is also a sign that religion is unlikely to decline any time soon; in fact uite the contrary

EPUB God is Dead

READER Å DOC God is Dead Secularization in the West ò ❮Download❯ ➽ God is Dead: Secularization in the West ➸ Author Steve Bruce – Drawing on an international range of examples Steve Bruce offers a comprehensive and up to date defence of the secularisation debate Drawing on an inTo date defence of the secularisation debate Bruce defines and explains the process of what has become known as Secularisation That is life without religion He explains how this has come about related to the changes in Society itself He believes that secularisation will not be reveresed