Secularization

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  • Publicado : 17 de marzo de 2011
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Society is a group that shares a common geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations (Encarta, online dictionary). However, societies are not constant. Advances in technology, communications and numerous factors make societies liable to transformations. For example, several religions have accompanied society groups since history startedbeing recorded. Eventually, sociologist found that societies drift from faith to misbelieve, generating patterns which affect societies in a geographic, political and economic way. Many sociologist and political economists have dedicated most of their research to analyze secular societies; in particular, Max Weber’s with his secularization thesis, which is broadly the idea that as societies becomewealthier and more modernized, they also become less religious. This paper will cover two articles with different points of view, one from an economic broad or global view of religiosity, and the other in a more specific way, looking at religious behavior on Canada’s largest cities.
One of the articles is “Deregulating Religion: The economics of church and state” by Laurence R. Iannaccone, RogerFinke, and Rodney Stark. It suggests a view of religion as a commodity, an object of choice and production. Therefore, “A religious firm will flourish if it provides a commodity at least as attractive as its competitors” (Iannaccone, pp. 2). As any other sector of the economy, government regulations can affect the producers’ incentives, the consumers’ options, and the aggregate equilibrium (I,2). In order to have an understanding of the article, it examines how changes in government regulations have affected the behavior of religiosity in different countries.
On the other hand, “Gentrification as Secularization: The Status of Religious Belief in the Post-Industrial City” by David Ley and R. Bruce Martin, does not look at how government regulations affect religiosity, it rather showsthe transformation of the urban landscape due to the evolution of the industrial society into a post-industrial society. Canada, a wealthy and modern nation, illustrates congregations which have had life cycles due to a change in population and new suburban developments.
In some countries, the government enforces a religion monopoly. For instance, Sweden Lutheranism has had the full protectionof the state. Sweden citizens obtain at birth automatic membership of the church. However, “nowadays, 2 % of Swedes attend the Church’s Sunday’s services, social pressures are such that 95% retain official church membership and 70% have their own children baptized in the Church” (I, 4). Definitely, the imposition of a commodity generates economy disequilibrium of high supply and low demand;religiosity is barely present in Swedish population. In Sweden, the church runs on tax funds. As any other government institution or firm, the clergy have a legal right to strike and, compared to other Swedish professionals, earn high salaries (I, 4). Without the state patronage there probably wouldn’t be a powerful Church. Furthermore, the relationship of the Church and the state goes beyond, where theonly way for the church to survive is by feeding the monopoly, purchasing support by subjugating its religious concerns of political demands (I, 5). Conversely, “The 10% of population belonging to “free” churches account for half of all the churchgoers on any given Sunday.”(I, 5). Even though Sweden is a wealthy, educated, and modern society, it is the population of unbelievers the one whichprevails. Hence, in Sweden the religiosity is higher for the population belonging to “free” churches because diversity generates a more competitive religious market.
Religious diversity is one of the results of Canada’s’ multiculturalism policy. The separation between the state and the church is clear in this country. Recently, Canada has been presenting a new pattern of settlement, which in a...
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