Secular is a term used to say something is not religious. Secularisation is described by sociologist Wilson as, ‘the process whereby religious thinking, practice and institutions lose social significance.’ The secularisation thesis argues that it has occurred in modern society, due to a number of factors. However there is an argument that religion is still important to society; again due to a number of factors.
Some sociologists argue that society is becoming more secular due to science and rationality, and the decline of traditional values. The strongest evidence for secularisation comes from church attendance statistics. According to the 1851 Census, 40% of the population attended church; however by 2005 this had dropped to 6.3% according to the 2006 English Church Census. Attendance at religious ceremonies such as baptisms has dramatically fallen. Sociologist Wilson and the New Right theory, sees the decline in church marriages, the rising divorce rate and the increase in cohabitation and number of children born outside marriage as evidence that religion and its moral value have little influence today.
However, Interpretivist sociologists suggest these statistics should be treated with caution due to the previous century data may be unreliable; as the process of how it was collected can be different from now. Also different organisations use different counting methods. Sociologist Bellah argues that people who attend church are not necessarily practising religious belief and those who do believe may not see the need to attend. Religion is a private experience for many and therefore cannot be reliably or scientifically measured.
Sociologist Wilson argues that the church is no longer involved in important areas of social life such as politics, and therefore politicians do not ensure that their policies meet with the approval of religious leaders. People are more likely to take moral direction from the mass media rather than from the church. However,...