Assess the View That Religious Beliefs and Practices Are Changing to Reflect a New Era of Diversity and Choice Essay

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Assess the view that religious beliefs and practices are changing to reflect a new era of diversity and choice In recent years, there has been evidence to support the fact that religious beliefs and practices are declining. However, this evidence has been challenged and argued against with 3 different alternatives to this theory: postmodernity, religious market theory and the existential security theory. Some sociologists that support these theories, who oppose to the view of secularisation, believe that religion is simply changing to reflect changes taking place in society, not declining. The changes in religion are largely the result of changes in wider society, such as greater individualism and consumerism, or even a shift from modern to late modern or postmodern society. Davie takes on a more privatised form and argues against the secularisation theory. She believes that we now have a ‘believing without belonging’ attitude, where people hold religious beliefs but don’t go to church. Therefore, religion has not declined but personal choice has changed and it is no longer obligated to attend anymore. Davie’s believing without belonging theory can display the growth of a new form of religion which matches the decline of traditional religion. Thus, supporting Davie’s argument that religion is not declining, however, just changing to reflect a new era and modern society by creating new religion which will continue to grow. In addition, Davie also argues a trend towards ‘vicarious religion’ where a small number of professional clergy practice religion on behalf of a much larger number of people, who experience it at second hand. Common trends of this are within Britain and Northern Europe which found that they mainly use the church for rites of passage – rituals such as weddings, baptisms etc. Similarly, Reginald Bibby conducted a Canadian Survey which found 25%

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