‘Claims that the UK is now a secular society are wrong. Both religious belief and religious activity are flourishing.’ Assess this view. (33 marks)
Sociologist Grace Davie characterised the situation in Britain as ‘believing without belonging.’ Although attendance rates for places of worship are low in the UK many people practice and believe at home due to lack of time and other commitments. This shows that the UK is no a secular society, religious belief is still flourishing, as people still believe.
Also, due to the large variety of religions in Britain people often choose to take the ‘Pick and Mix’ approach to religion, and choose to dabble between different religions to complete their own individual set of beliefs which suits their lifestyle. Therefore by not participating in any particular religion exclusively they would be practicing privately, and not counted in religious statistics, causing society to appear secular, even though religious belief and activity is still really flourishing, more so than before due to a variety of religion being participated in.
However, another argument is that although many people practice religion strictly, most people engage with it on a vicarious level. This states that although only an active minority perform the rituals and practices involved with religion, the majority who do not practice understand and obviously accept what the minority are doing. This was shown in the death of Princess Diana, where large numbers of people attended church to light candles, mourn privately and to hear the meaning of the tragedy to other people. This shows that society is not secularised, it is just sometimes seen as an escape or relief system in times of trauma.
Also, church attendance levels are not merely enough to go buy to comment on whether or not society is secular. The British Social Attitudes Survey in 1998 21% of people interviewed said that they indefinitely believed in God, and only 10% said they didn’t believe at all....