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The Role of Religion in Contemporary Irish Society
Religion and Theology
Pages 8 (2008 words)
From the Neolithic monuments to the medieval monasteries and the modern institution of the Catholic Church, there are visible traces on the Irish landscape that testify to this historical preoccupation with organised religious beliefs and practices. …
Contemporary sociologists have judged that “any sociological study of Ireland must reflect the importance of religion in the shaping of our contemporary society, its continuing relevance in terms of everyday social life and the still central role of religious institutions” (Tovey and Share, 2003, p. 384).
This observation, however, runs counter to the belief that was a cultural shift in all Western societies which started in the period of the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, which introduced a whole new set of scientific tools. Max Weber, Émile Durkheim and other early proponents of the new discipline of sociology described evidence of a shift away from religion and towards rationalisation. The term “secularization” is used to describe this change, and the “secularization thesis” is a belief that religion will slowly fade in the face of new scientific, and by implication better, ways of seeing the world. This paper shows, however, that there is evidence in the recent history and sociology of Ireland to prove that the secularization thesis does not hold, since contemporary Ireland fully reflects modern cultural trends and yet it is by no means an increasingly secular country. ...
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