March 21, 12
Religion and Modernity
- Capitalism, Bureaucratization Globalization, and Science-
- These developments have led to changes in 1) The place of religion
in society, 2) The standing and functioning of religious institutions,
and in 3) the nature of religiosity:
- 1) the marginalization/displacement/substitutions or religious
traditions by formal rationalism, scientism (growing faith in science
– clues on how to live their lives), individualism (Weber thesis),
materialism (understood largely with material), and consumerism (
- 2) Fostering and reinforcing a general SECULARIZATION
- Operates on two levels…
- ^ structural [institutional differentiation and autonomy]
- ^ cultural [pluralism/relativization of traditions]
- In modern societies things become more secularized – less
emphasis on scripture or religious commandments.
- 3) Religious revitalization and modernizing movements
- conservative reactions… FUNDAMENTALISM [Jewish, Christian,
Islamic, Hindu, etc…, affirm the authority of the sacred, uphold
traditional gender roles, oppose moral decay…] is shaped by
modernity – a reaction against the new but not a restoration of the
old – selective recreation of a tradition.
- liberal efforts to update or modernize the tradition [Vatican II,
ordaining women in some Protestant churches, changing policies on
birth control, homosexuality, etc…] Traditions that try to
accommodate modernity they generally try to modernize the
tradition which makes their religion more responsive to modern life.
- 4) The emergence/intensification of quasi-religious cultural
- Civil religions – nationalism, or cult of the state.
- Grand ideologies such as socialism, communism, ecology
- ‘seeker’ or New Age spirituality [aromatherapy, crystals,
meditation, astrology, holistic mind/body purifications, etc.]
- 5) Syncretism and New Religious Movements (NRM’s)
- globalization promotes and reinforces pluralism, relativism, and
- With globalization people come into contact with different religions.
One of the things it does is it relativized religions. Different
traditions come closer on par – allows mixing (all religions have
something of value that might improve your life) - syncretism
- all religions have something valuable – pick and blend (=
syncretism) according to your individual needs or taste.