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There are various different arguments for debating whether Britain is becoming a more secular society. Wilson defines secularisation as ‘the process whereby religious thinking, practice and institutions lose social significance.’
Firstly, there are many sociologists, like Wilson, who do believe that Britain is becoming a more secular society. Wilson explains how religious thinking has lost social significance. He argues it has occurred though changing norms and values, with the fact that our socialisation is coming more from the media and schools rather than religion and also that media and science has taken over our beliefs. Additionally, religious practice has lost social significance due to our busy schedules in the chaotic postmodern era. The fact that people are no longer socialised into practicing religion and that marriages/funerals do not always take place in churches anymore also demonstrates the loss of importance in religion. Lastly, Wilson argues that religious institutions have lost social significance as they are being used for other events and leaders of the church now have little power. As a result, Wilson states that all aspects of religion are being lost and religion is declining. To support his arguments, Wilson undertook a survey which proved that secularisation had taken place. He found that there was a steep decline in church attendance, people’s morals no longer came from religion, the established church now has little political influence and little art comes from religion today. All these factors show how religion is being lost in all aspects of society.
Martin uses a term called ‘disengagement’ when explaining the decline in religion, meaning that religion is not engaged in mainstream society. He states that there is a decline in religion, especially in politics and the fact that there are fewer bishops in the House of Lords proves this as religion has little influence over laws. Additionally, Martin states that people can be respected without having to go to church, meaning that religion and religious institutions are losing importance in our secular society.
Weber uses rationalisation (logical thought) to explain why secularisation has taken place. Weber argues that the decline of religious influence and importance has led to people believing in other secular places such as science. This is because science has grown over the past 400 years and people are now becoming more objective in their thinking and science is a rational way of thinking. This is causing religion to become less important in people’s lives as they do not want to believe in a God, causing secularisation.