Secularization Of Religion And Its Influence In Modern Society

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Secularization is defined as the way in which religion is losing its importance in modern societies. The idea of secularization suggests that religion is becoming less prominent in society and its institutions less influential in the lives of individuals. One group of writers believes it is happening, while other writers consider it to be a myth and that the religion is merely changing. The problem with the debate is that writers use different definitions of religion. Substantive definitions define a religious belief system as involving relations between the ‘natural’ and supernatural spheres. This includes beliefs in God or Gods, the afterlife, and so on. Thus, religion is defined in terms of the structure and the content of people’s belief rather than what religion does for them. Functional definitions characterize religion in terms of the functions it performs for individuals and society. They are inclusive because they include beliefs that have a religion like influence. For Marx, religion was the opium of masses and for Durkheim a form of ‘social cement’.
Wilson has pointed out, those who define religion in a substantive terms are more likely to support the secularization thesis because they can show that the religious belief has declined as people accept other ore than rational explanations. But those who see religion in functional terms are more likely to reject the secularization thesis. Wilson supports the secularization as the process by which religious

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