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Secularization Debate

            Secularization of religion is the replacement of a religion's "other worldly" concerns with concerns about this life. As industrialization and modernity has increased, religion has lost some of its social significance. Two strong positions are held by Bryon Wilson and Roger Finke on the secularization debate. Wilson notes that religious practices in society are a thing of the past. Religion started as a communal group phenomenon and has transformed into a part of one's private life. Finke and his partner Rodney Stark, also a professor of sociology and comparative religion, oppose Wilson's viewpoint and feel that religion is not experiencing secularization. Finke's thesis is supported from both economic and political point of views. A rebuttal has been made by Steve Bruce on the theory stated by Finke and Stark that claims some of their evidence is flawed and secularization is evident today. Based on these theories, a strong debate over secularization has been created. .
             Bryon Wilson defines secularization as "a process of transfer of property, power, activities, and both manifest and latent functions, from institutions with a supernatural frams of reference to (often new) institutions operating according to empirical, rational, pragmatic criteria." Religion is experiencing a decline of social significance, Wilson argues. In the early communities and traditional societies, religion had a strong social significance. Everyday life was deeply influenced with elements of the supernatural or religious activities. Religion was a communal activity that existed in many parts of society. However, as the United States became industrialized, people moved from religion to the secular world. .

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