28 th International Conference of the Sociology of Religion location:Zagreb, CROATIA date:JUL 18-22, 2005
For Bryan Wilson, secularization refers to the fact that religion has lost influence at the societal, the institutional and the individual level. For him, individual secularization is about the loss of authority of the Churches to define what people should believe, practise and accept as moral principles guiding their lives. In other words, individual piety may still persist, however, if it develops independently of religious authorities, then it is an indication of individual secularization. Wilson has further more stressed the consequences of the process of societalization in modern societies and on this basis he formulated his thesis that secularization is linked to the decline of community and is a concomitant of societalization. It is also typical of Wilson that he uses the Catholic Church as his reference to evaluate institutional secularization. Finally, in Wilson's work a moral evaluation is present: since a society, even a modern one, cannot survive on procedural values alone, it needs substantive values as well. Consequently, he asked: which institution will socialize the new generations in such values now that religion has lost its impact and the educational system has taken on the characteristics of modern society itself?