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God Is Dead: Secularization in the West


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This is a powerpoint presentation to accompany Steve Bruce's book God is Dead: Secularization in the West. It deals at length with secularization.

Published in: Education, Spiritual, Technology

God Is Dead: Secularization in the West

  2. 2. Chapter 1: The Secularization Paradigm What is secularization?  Basic proposition: “modernization creates problems for religion”  (p. 2) Lengthier summary (from Wilson):  pp. 2-3 “Its [secularizations] application covers such things as the  sequestration by political powers of the property and facilities of religious agencies; the shift from religious to secular control of various of the erstwhile activities and functions of religion; the decline in the proportion of their time, energy, and resources which men devote to supra-empirical concerns; the decay of religious institutions; the supplanting, in matters of behavior, of religious precepts by demands that accord with strictly technical criteria; and the gradual replacement of a specifically religious consciousness (which might range from dependence on charms, rites, spells or prayers, to a broadly spiritually-inspired ethical concern) by an empirical, rational, instrumental orientation; the abandonment of mythical, poetic, and artistic interpretations of nature and society in favour of matter-of-fact descriptions and, with it, the rigorous separation of evaluative and emotive dispositions from cognitive and positivistic orientations.”
  3. 3. Chapter 1: The Secularization Paradigm Bruce‟s summary:   P. 3 “In brief, I see secularization as a social condition manifest in (a) the declining importance of religion for the operation of non-religious roles and institutions such as those of the state and the economy; (b) a decline in the social standing of religious roles and institutions; and (c) a decline in the extent to which people engage in religious practices, display beliefs of a religious kind, and conduct other aspects of their lives in a manner informed by such beliefs.”
  4. 4. The Secularization Paradigm Monotheism The Protestant (R1) Reformation Individualism Protestant Ethic (E1) Rationality (RO1) Industrial Capitalism (R2) Propensity to (E2) Schism (RO2) Science (R3) Economic Growth (E3) Technology Structural Social Differentiation (R4) Differentiation (S2) (S1) Technological Schism and Sects Social and Cultural Egalitarianism (S4) Consciousness (RO3) Diversity (S3) (CS1) Secular States and Religious Diversity Literacy and Liberal Democracy (RO4) Voluntary R=Rationalization; (P1) Association (S6) RO=Religious Sects and Churches Organization; Moderate (RO5) E=Economy; Compartmentalizatio S=Society; P=Polity; n and Privatization Relativism (CS2) CS=Cognitive Style
  5. 5. The Secularization Paradigm Monotheism – rationalizing tendency of Christianity  created space for secular alternatives (making formal what was pleasing to God detached ethics and morality from beliefs about the supernatural) Rationality – Rationality is primarily a macro and meso  level phenomenon – the extent to which the means-ends rationality is embedded in social organization (rule- governed bureaucracy) Monotheism potentially leads to Protestant  Reformation, which is a major step toward increased secularization Why?  The Protestant Ethic – Led to capitalism (according to  Weber); Why?
  6. 6. The Secularization Paradigm Structural Differentiation – the fragmentation of  social life as specialized roles and institutions are created to handle specific features or functions previously embodied in or carried out by one role or institution Examples?  Social Differentiation – Division of people based  on social structure – classes and occupations; people were divided based on status or station, but they were immutable so people still spent time around each other; today, the poor never spend time with the rich
  7. 7. The Secularization Paradigm Individualism – Protestant Reformation removes  necessity of a “Church” to go between humans and God Implications for religion?  Societalization – life is increasingly enmeshed and  organized, not locally but societally (nation state) How much allegiance do you have to your local  community?  Religion draws its strength from the community (generally), and not from the nation state.  So, what does societalization mean for religion?
  8. 8. The Secularization Paradigm Schism and Sects – literate and educated laity  leads to importance of rights of the individual and the growth of egalitarianism and liberal democracy Implications for religion?  People won‟t be fond of the “divine right of kings”  Social and Cultural Diversity:  Societies in which almost everyone shares a  particular religion can give that faith pride of place in its operation  Is that possible in a cultural diverse society? Why/Why not?  Does diversity call into question certainty of belief? Ideas are most convincing when they are universally  shared. Then they are not beliefs at all; they are just an accurate account of how things are.
  9. 9. The Secularization Paradigm Compartmentalization and Privatization – removes the  social support that is vital to reinforcing beliefs; encourages a de facto relativism that is fatal to shared beliefs How do you know YOU are right when so many others  claim they are right? You can‟t KNOW it; maybe BELIEVE it.  Sects and Churches Moderate – increasing wealth  leads to increasing costs from asceticism; morals, values, and recommendations change Pentecostalism and dress/TV/jewelry  Sects are self-corrupting – generally become comfortable  denominations
  10. 10. The Secularization Paradigm Economic Growth – increased prosperity reduces  religious fervor Science and Technology – religion and science  can and do co-exist But science has an advantage – it accumulates  knowledge and much of that is agreed upon (disagreement at the front edge; solidarity on the major points)  Religions – disagree on the major points and minor points; no solidarity  Science also reduces dependence on religion
  11. 11. The Secularization Paradigm Technology and Technological Consciousness  – leads people to see cause and effect, which makes us want to understand cause and effect in all aspects of life, undermining religious thinking Relativism – increasing social and cultural  diversity combines with egalitarianism to undermine all claims to authoritative knowledge  Whose line to god is right?
  12. 12. Counter Tendencies Religion faces secularization “except where it  finds work to do other than relating individuals to the supernatural” Two scenarios when religion remains strong and  relevant: Cultural defense – when religion plays a role in  defending the culture of a society or otherwise has a significant role (e.g., Poland under Communism)  Cultural transition – when people migrate or when modernization occurs, people need support and comfort, which religion provides My research on Mormons, JWs, and SDAs 
  13. 13. What Secularization Doesn‟t Assert It is not a universal nor inevitable phenomenon  Appears to be true in Western World, where it was  postulated to happen  May not be true for other cultures (e.g., Iran), but that is an empirical question Claims it is irreversible but no inevitable  Secularization doesn‟t have to proceed smoothly  or uniformly, just generally over time Endpoint isn‟t necessarily atheism but religious  indifference Why? 
  14. 14. Chapter 2: The Golden Age of Faith For secularization to be true, there must be times in  humanity‟s past when humans were MORE religious than they are today Some say that is not the case (Stark, Finke,  Iannaccone) Historians find:  Even if people were not regularly in church (which many  were – about 5/6ths), they were very superstitious and credulous Society and institutions were not rational  Religion dominated society during the medieval period  This is not to say society used to be made up of  theologically adroit regular attenders, but that isn‟t the claim
  15. 15. Chapter 2: The Golden Age of Faith If you deny a Golden Age of Faith, you assert:  The most powerful national institution (of Britain) had little or no influence on the  people. The sums given by people of every station of life to fund Masses were a  reflection of religious indifference. The huge sums given by rich people to build and to endow churches, chantries  and chapels were not a mark of religious interest. Those institutions and the social practices they sustained had no impact on  cosmology, theology or morality. The people who allowed very large proportions of the national wealth to be given  to religious activities believed them to be pointless. The institution of swearing oaths on the Bible was used to encourage truth-telling  because few people believed anything bad would come from offending God. Most people attended Mass at Easter just because most other people did and  nobody actually believed in it. All rites of passage, all significant dates in the agricultural calendar, and all  important community events were glossed with religious rituals because nobody believed religion mattered. Finally, we must conclude that the enormous intrusion of organized Christianity  into social and cultural life was utterly ineffective in socializing people into the beliefs and values that organized Christianity represented.
  16. 16. Chapter 3: God is Dead: Christianity in Britain Religion in Great Britain is in serious trouble  weekly attendance % 70 60 60 50 40 30 20 12 10 10 7.5 0 1851 1979 1989 1998
  17. 17. % of attenders 65+ Religion 1979 1989 1999 General population 15 15 16 Anglican 18 19 25 Baptist 18 19 23 Catholics 13 16 22 Methodist 25 30 38 Pentecostal 10 10 10 United Reformed 26 30 38 Other 19 24 29 denominations What does this tell us?
  18. 18. members as % of population 30 27 25 22 21 20 19 % 15 13 10 10 5 0 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
  19. 19. Sunday school scholars as % of population 60 55 50 49 40 36 % 30 24 20 10 9 4 0 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
  20. 20. Paid Clergy 50000 45400 45000 40000 35000 34160 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 1900 2000
  21. 21. % of weddings in churches 80 70 67 60 50 40 30 20 20 10 0 1900 2000
  22. 22. % don't believe in god 30 27 25 20 15 10 5 2 0 1950 1990
  23. 23. Christianity in Britain What‟s happening in Great Britain?  Why? 
  24. 24. Chapter 4: The Failure of the New Age Keep in mind that “New Age” is a new “phase”  in the occult/metaphysical religion  Has been a constant companion of Christianity  e.g., Mormonism and the Magic World View – peepstones and buried treasures
  25. 25. Chapter 4: The Failure of the New Age Cultic religion  We‟ll discuss this typology in much greater length later in the course. external conception respectable deviant uniquely church sect legitimate internal conception pluralisticall denomination cult y legitimate
  26. 26. New Age Practices in UK, 2000. Beliefs or Practices Have tried or Important in living life experienced Alternative medicine 39 14 Aromatherapy 32 7 Reflexology 16 3 Crystals 6 1 Prayer 41 25 Tarot cards/fortune 17 2 telling Astrology 16 2 Meditation 22 2 Faith healing (church) 3 0 Faith healing (not 6 0 church) Contact with 4 0
  27. 27. New Age Religion Total practitioners over the last 25 years – 100,000 (out of  about 60 million in the UK) No clear demarcation of members, which makes enumeration  difficult Why?  Characteristics of New Age Religion:  Goal is freeing the pure self (god) within, not making the self  within pure No authority higher than the self  Autonomy leads to eclecticism – shopping  Think “holistically” – somewhat anti-scientific  Relativism; nothing is wrong and all things can be combined –  everything works at the level of “cosmic consciousness” Happiness here, not in the next life 
  28. 28. New Age Religion Reduction of respect for authority   Why?  Generallydevelops among people who are somewhat educated and know enough about science to think they know what is best for themselves  Why would they let someone else tell them what to do? People pay for goods and services piecemeal   Is this a reflection of modern society?
  29. 29. New Age Religion Difficult to sustain and promote?   Why?  No control mechanisms; no claimed monopoly on salvation knowledge  Autonomy competes with community; no real New Age community  Diffuse ideologies are hard to transmit; Why? Lacks the significance of the church and sect   Why?  Any New Age private schools or hospitals? Charities? Why not? 
  30. 30. Chapter 5: Science and Secularization Is there conflict between science and religion?  Is science the driving force of secularization?   Some would argue that science can support religion  But the scientific thought process and rationalization can undermine religious thinking
  31. 31. Beliefs of “greater” scientists 90 80 70 personal disbelief in 60 god personal disbelif in 50 immortality 40 personal belief in god 30 personal belief in 20 immortality 10 0 1914 1933 1998
  32. 32. Attendance by Academic Discipline never attend 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
  33. 33. Affiliation by Academic Discipline no religion 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
  34. 34. Chapter 6: The Easternization of the West West is a net importer of religion?  Contact is insufficient for adoption:  Receptivity is the key  Results from seeing people raised in your religion leaving it  (remember, the actors of secularization)  Contact reduces prejudice and increases acceptance  People begin to identify with those they are trying to convert All of these combine to weaken the monopoly of  religion and increase the appeal alternative religions, including Eastern religions Why not convert to Islam or Orthodox Judaism? 
  35. 35. Western Thought Humans have characteristics that set them apart  from nature and the spiritual Humans are divided into a body, a spirit and a  mind There is a personal god who is over humans  Humans must control and manipulate nature to  ensure their survival Rational thought and an analytical approach to  problem solving should be emphasized Science and technology have given us a good life  and provide our main hope for an even better future Action and the competitive spirit should be  rewarded
  36. 36. Eastern Thought Humans and nature are one  Spiritual and physical are one  Mind and body are one  Humans should recognize their basic oneness with  nature, the spiritual and the mental rather than attempt to analyse, label, categorize, manipulate, control or consume the things of the world Because of their oneness with all existence, humans should  feel „at home‟ in any place and with any person Science and technology, at best, create an illusion of  progress; enlightenment involves achieving a sense of oneness with the universal; it is a state where all dichotomies vanish Meditation, a special state of quiet contemplation, is essential  to achieving enlightenment
  37. 37. Commodification of Eastern Thought When Eastern thought is adopted, it‟s adapted  – exercise or spiritual practice to increase  Yoga focus?  Must fit into modern Western culture:  Can‟t become the goal, just a pasttime  Doesn‟t replace Western culture
  38. 38. Chapter 7: Regression to the Mean: Vignettes Church Schools The New Churches Church of Scotland British “house-   gave control of it‟s church” movement schools to the state in began in 1970 in 1872. Did not demand safeguards. response to a Catholic Church  perceived laxity in refused to hand over the mainstream their schools until they were ensured churches and control over staff conformity in appointments and Evangelical school management. branches.
  39. 39. Vignettes Cont‟d Signs and Symbols Commerce and Tradition The schism of When Eastern   Scottish religious themes Presbyterianism in became more 1843 led to two prevalent in the different competing West, we adopted national organizations. them and After that generation secularized them.  of people died, interest in differences declined
  40. 40. Catholicism is similar in the US, except there are periodic “shows of force”: Occasionally politicians Vignettes Cont‟d are disallowed communion for their stance on abortion (similar to spousal violence in evolutionary framework) A Substantial Minority A Communitarian Sect The Amish Catholics used to be   disapprove of notably more interacting or observant and conducting business distinctive than with anyone outside Protestants. their religion. Recently, Catholics  The shunning of  have become more members who accepting of the transgress is at the heart of the Amish‟s norms in society. social reproduction.
  41. 41. Indicators of English Catholic Vitality, 1960s and 1990s. Indices 1960s 1990s Mass attendances (000) 2,000 1,100 Child baptisms (000) 134 75 Receptions/conversions (000) 15 6 Confirmations (000) 81 46 Marriages (000) 46 17 Proportion of Catholic marriages that 50 33 involve two Catholics (%)
  42. 42. The Religious The Secula r micro meso macro
  43. 43. The Moral Belief systems compete for attention with other  belief systems The Religious Garden  Needs to be kept free of weeds, and from people  taking the plants home. Four Problems:  Religious observance decaying   Unusual beliefs being abandoned  Once-important behavioral marks of membership being dropped  Boundary between the community of the faithful and the rest of the world being eroded
  44. 44. The Moral Why is it that the English Catholics turned away  from the Catholic faith? Was it because of socialization or their lack of belief in  Hell? We need constant reaffirmation and deep  socialization to sustain our distinctive beliefs. There is more than one way to God is not a good  control mechanism. Why? Western rights impose on a communities rights.  Men and women have equal rights   Blasphemous vs free speech
  45. 45. Regression to the Mean Basically means that outliers tend to move  toward the mean over time  Those who score really high and really low on the first test, tend to score closer to the mean on the second  Religiously, it looks like this: Pentecostal s& Break away to Regress to the Charismatic oppose lax mean by standards, etc. becoming more s like mainline Mainline Protestantism Those who initially broke away were poor. They banned expensive jewelry, nice clothing, and TVs. As they became more affluent, those bans disappeared. They are back to the mainline.
  46. 46. Chapter 8: Subsistence Religion Basically taking issue with Stark, Iannaccone, and  Finke: They claim state churches are bad and the free market is  good They claim the competition of the free market leads to  greater religiosity This means all that matters is the “supply” of religion;  consumers are irrelevant Bruce argues that this one-sided approach is also  short-sighted: The religious aren‟t passive consumers  Examples are The Men, who basically created their own  religion when the state church failed them You have to look at each case individually to determine the  influential factors (autonomy of people and belief system involved)
  47. 47. Chapter 8 Graphically Stark Model Supply Demand determine (member (religions) s) Bruce‟s Model Supply Two- Demand (religion way (members) s) influenc e
  48. 48. Chapter 9: The Charismatic Movement and Secularization Media and Religion  Everything is sensationalist:   Article was originally titled “Mass Baptisms in the Bay”  Changed it after someone commented on the “mass baptisms” portion  How many baptisms is “mass” baptisms?  After1 year of trying to drum up enthusiasm and reconvert the Tampa Bay area, they baptized… 50 people. 
  49. 49. Revival and Renewal Claim of Religious Economies Model is that  revivals and renewals lead to a cyclical pattern of religiosity:  Religionsget lazy  People stop going  Then revivals occur  And people return Bruce agrees revivals occur   But their influence is over-stated
  50. 50. Revivals Secularization isn‟t linear –  it‟s cyclical But the key point: after  every cycle of renewal, the new level of religiosity is lower than the old one Revival Revival Revival Revival Revival Revival Revival Reviv al Revival Revival R e v i v a l
  51. 51. The Circulation of the Saints Bibby and Brinkerhoff looked at religions  growing in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s  They were conservative religions  But where were the new members coming from?  Two sources:  Kidsand relatives of current members  People moving from one church to another Lesson:   Revivals and growing religions don‟t convert the secular  The re-attract some of the disenchanted religious
  52. 52. Denominationalism Sects start off making bold claims   No drinking  No partying  No dancing But once they become more affluent and with  the passage of time  Moderate drinking  Parties are fun  Let‟s dance at church They regress to the mean 
  53. 53. Conservative Religions Conservative religions are becoming dominant   Not because they are growing rapidly  But because they are declining less rapidly than the liberal religions
  54. 54. Chapter 10: Discovering Religion: Mistakes of Method How do you measure “religiosity” outside  churches and chapels?  What is he referring to?  Spirituality? Arguing that people in Western, developed  countries not only don‟t go or affiliate, but are increasingly secular  As opposed to “believing without belonging” (Davie)  Other scholars say that people are religious, despite their lack of attendance and belief
  55. 55. Religious/Spiritual/Secular Good example of this, a paper I reviewed for a scholarly  journal. First draft of paper they called the religiosity of students on  campuses “vibrant” a number of times. However, they didn‟t say how often students  attended, exactly, only that it was less than their parents (which means less than 25% attend on any given Sunday) and they are less likely to believe in god than the general public. Additionally, 3/5ths of college students don‟t think religion is  very important. In my review, I called them on this:  More than 75% of students not attending services weekly is NOT  VIBRANT! (unless you have a very low criteria!!!) 60% of students saying religion is not important is NOT  VIBRANT! The authors took the word out of their paper…  
  56. 56. Religious/Spiritual/Secular 60 50 40 Bibby argues the responses indicate ahe phrases the 1) How very serious somewhat 30 concern among Canadians question. quite a bit about their purpose in life. 2) How he aggregates the a great deal 20 data to assume there is a What‟s concern (glass half lot of wrong with his interpretation? 10 full or half empty) 0 purpose in life
  57. 57. Religious/Spiritual/Secular Stage 1 % Stage 1 % Stage 1 % Conventionally 29 Belief 45 religious Religious 66 Vaguely theistic 16 Sensitivity Open- Agnostic 6 21 mindedness Wavering 14 Superstitious 1 atheistic 34 atheistic 34 atheistic 34 Another example. How should this be counted?
  58. 58. Religious/Spiritual/Secular If an atheist asks, “What is the meaning of  life?” does that mean she is interested in religion?  Many scholars suggest that is so, completely ignoring philosophical perspectives like Secular Humanism Are “religious nones” the same as “atheists”?   The point: Someone who has rejected religion does not fall into the same category as some who is indifferent to religion or someone who is just bothered by organized religion but still believes
  59. 59. Religious/Spiritual/Secular Many surveys also 120  don't know suffer from 100 convinced question loading atheist 80 not religious and therefore 60 response bias: not spiritual 40  The default agnostic category is 20 religious “religious.” 0 spiritual  If you don‟t fit, then categories what are you?
  60. 60. Religious/Spiritual/Secular Another aspect of bias: If the person asking the  question is religious, he/she might assume motivations that don‟t exist. Examples:  Are atheists secretly mad at god?  Implying they believe but are too proud to admit it?  Do people who leave religions leave because they  have sinned? Implying they want to be religious but don‟t feel they can cut  it? I have a friend who left Mormonism. His family  claimed he committed adultery and that was why he left, even though he told them it was because he doesn‟t believe the religion. Why might the still believing Mormons do this? 
  61. 61. What‟s the Religious/Spiritual/Secular problem? Bruce gives an example of loaded questions:  100% 90% 80% 70% unknown hymns 60% 50% services hard to follow 40% physically cold 30% 20% put off as a child 10% unfriendly 0% old-fashioned boring not interested too busy
  62. 62. Religious/Spiritual/Secular Or you can simply redefine what it means to  be religious:  People who think about metaphysical issues  Or define religion by its function (like the authors of the textbook do) What does this accomplish? 
  63. 63. Chapter 11: Religion in the US The US isn‟t as secular as the UK, but it‟s not  that different:  Christianity is losing power, prestige, and popularity  Christianity is putting greater emphasis on individual choice, this-worldly salvation, therapuetic approach to religion  No significant reversal of religion becoming marginal (despite the Religious Right)  Despite being different from the UK, the differences can be explained by secularization theory
  64. 64. Religion in the US Much greater bias toward being religious   This leads to attendance over-reporting by anywhere from 50% to 70%  Hadaway studies in Ohio and Alabama (checked with church leaders and counted cars)  Think about “vibrant” reference in paper:  How “vibrant” is religious life in the US if somewhere between 15% and 25% of the population is in church on a given Sunday?  That means 75% to 85% are not.  What are your criteria for “vibrant”?
  65. 65. Religion in the US The nature of religions are changing  (we‟ll see this in videos – Aliens in America, Joel Osteen): Less focus on hellfire and damnation   More focus on managing money and being happy Religions have remained strong by  becoming less “religious”? The focus has shifted to “this-worldly”  salvation as opposed to “next-worldly”  Personal relationship with Jesus rather than penitent sinners; “Jesus is my co- pilot”; Buddy Jesus; Jesus action figure
  66. 66. Religion in the US Why might religion change?  Save most of the specific content from clashing with  secular knowledge  Remove the necessity for arguing with other religions Both of these reasons qualify as: meeting  consumer demand Evidence indicates less agreement with doctrinal  positions among adherents Many don‟t even know their denominational affiliation  or religious family (Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, Methodist, etc.)
  67. 67. Religion in the US What about the New Christian Right (NCR)?  Have not reduced the number of abortions (economic  equality and sex education do that)  Have not reduced number of women working outside the home (gone up over the last 40 years, including among conservative Christians)  Have not restored male hegemony (hasn‟t increased or decreased much since about 1980)  Have not made divorce more difficult (leveled in 2006 at just under 50% of first marriages by 25th anniversary)  Have not put religious ceremonies back in state schools (though they do occasionally occur)  Have not put “creationism” into schools (just lost Dover case)
  68. 68. abortions per 1,000 women 15- 44 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Source:
  69. 69. Religion in the US New Christian Right has turned to using secular  language to make their arguments Why vote against gay marriage?  Not because god says but because “It will hurt the family”  Why ban abortion?  Not because god says but because “It‟s killing kids”  Why should women stay home?  Not because god says but because “Kids need their  mothers” Why teach creationism?  Not because it is religion but because it is “creation  science” Why do they have to use secular language? 
  70. 70. Religion in the US So why is the US so “religious” relative to other  developed countries? The reasons mentioned (changing nature of religion)   Migration – remember, migrants bring their religion with them; lots of recent migrants  National diversity but local monopolies: people don‟t have a whole lot of choice Atheists are harassed in some locations:   atheist-students-at-school/ Local monopolies also allow people to wall themselves off:  Christians have Yellow Pages and advertise as “Christian…  etc.” (chiropracter, carpet cleaner, etc.) Diversity allows people to avoid diversity 
  71. 71. Chapter 12: Postmodernism and Religious Revival Postmodernism – What is it?  A refusal to regard positivistic, rationalistic, instrumental  criteria as the sole or exclusive standard of worthwhile knowledge A willingness to combine symbols from disparate codes or  frameworks of meaning, even at the cost of disjunctions and eclecticism A celebration of  spontaneity, fragmentation, superficiality, irony and playfulness A willingness to abandon the search for over-arching or  triumphalist myths, narratives or frameworks of knowledge Basically arguing that science and reason can‟t give  “truth”
  72. 72. Postmodernism What‟s the problem with postmodernism?  Internally contradictory: if there is no truth, how can  postmodernism assert that there is no truth? Isn‟t that a “truth”?  Doesn‟t map onto reality: postmodernists are postmodernists until they hit the corner of a table or kick a chair The reality is that there are things that are “real” and at  least some aspects of “reality” are shared (e.g., pain, physical objects, etc.)  If someone denies it, tell them to believe you aren‟t throwing a brick at them while you do it. Postmodernists would also suggest that all opinions  are valid Is that true? 
  73. 73. Postmodernism and Religion What‟s the connection?   Ifscience and reason aren‟t the sole arbiters of truth, then maybe religion can also be a source of truth  What do you think? Can religion be an arbiter of truth?  Is there a difference between “truth” and “The Truth”? So, what is the future of religion in the Western  World? Is God sick, dying, dead, or just preparing for a  revival?