Religion in Secularizing Society: The Europeans' Religion at the End of the 20th Century

By Loek Halman; Ole Riis | Go to book overview

Core church members appear to have indeed in general a more integrated view of religion and family than less involved church members. Since, according to the European Values Study of 1990, the Catholic church has a larger number of core members than the Protestant churches, we may conclude that the differences between Catholics and Protestants must be explained by this different distribution. The differences between Catholics and Protestants, while existing in general, largely arise from a difference in degree of involvement of the members. The two waves of the EVS study (in 1981 and 1990) furthermore revealed that the involvement of members in their respective churches was declining (Ester, Halman & de Moor, 1994: 44). Consequently, we may conclude that the secularisation of the social system is promoting a compartmentalisation in the consciousness of the people between religion and views of the family, which goes parallel with a decline of involvement of people in the churches. The influence of the churches” views on family life is rapidly dwindling. They still hold for only a very limited number of church members, especially core members. Our particular conclusions concerning people's views of the family confirm the analysis of Lambert, who has found that “religion has little ascendancy over life in general, except for the core members” (1998: 231).


References

Call, V.R.A. & T.B. Heaton 1997. “Religious Influence on Marital Stability”. Journal for the Scienti fi c Study of Religion 36: 382–392.

Ellison, C.G. & P. Goodson 1997. “Conservative Protestantism and Attitudes toward Family Planning in a Sample of Seminarians”. Journal for the Scienti fi c Study of Religion 36: 512–529.

Ester, P., L. Halman & R. de Moor 1994. The Individualizing Society: Value Change in Europe and North America. Tilburg: Tilburg University Press.

Grasmick, H.G., L.P. Wilcox & S.R. Bird 1990. “The Effects of Religious Fundamentalism and Religiosity on Preference for Traditional Family Norms”. Sociological Inquiry 60: 352–369.

Gundelach, P. 1994. “National Value Differences”. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 35: 37–58.

Halman, L., & A. Vloet 1994. Measuring and Comparing Values in 16 Countries of the Western World: Documentation of the European Values Study 1981–1990 in Europe and North America. Tilburg: WORC.

Lambert, Y. 1998. “The Scope and Limits of Religious Functions According to the European Value and ISSP Surveys”. Pp. 211–232 in R. Laermans, B. Wilson & J. Billiet (eds.), Secularization and Social Integration. Leuven: Leuven University Press.

Lenski, G. 1961. The Religious Factor. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Luhmann, N. 1977. Funktion der Religion. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.

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