As a result the average South African atheist is “white, male, English-speaking, and educated.”. This article probes the possible link between modernisation and secularisation through a case study of the Republic of South Africa. PDF | “African Neo-Pentecostalism in the Face of Secularization: Problems and Possibilities.” Cairo Journal of Theology 2 (2015): 103–20. Christianity has not replaced African spiritualism; it has influenced it, in the same way that African religion has influenced classic African churches such as Shembe, the ZCC, and the Apostolic churches. I was eleven years old when I lost my faith. ( Log Out /  Among the leading voices of reason in the world, there exists only one prominent black figure, that being African- American scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson. Despite the spread of multiparty democracy, however, violence, inequality, and poverty persisted throughout the region. An Inquiry into the Religious Roots of Secular Culture" by available from Rakuten Kobo. The housing shortage, the multiplicity of the means of transport and communication, the economic problems, fashion, education, urban, political and social structure, influence of western culture on urban life, individualism all these factors have secularized the urban outlook. What is the relationship between secularization and tolerance? Many of these fundamentalists believe that Hindus are headed for the highest stages of hell due to the fact that their religion involves idol worship or worship of deities. If definite verifiable evidence does present itself for proof of the existence of the supernatural, I will be open to becoming a believer. This was the original model of colonialism brought by the Dutch in 1652, and subsequently exported from the Western Cape to the Afrikaner Republics of the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Thus it shouldn’t surprise us that they are not as fervent in their beliefs as say, contemporary Muslims or Afrikaner Christians appear to be,” Thejane, says. Those religious leaders who came to educate the learners are the same ones who preach chauvinism and ignorance towards other faiths. For instance religious fundamentalists particularly those who follow Christianity and Islam are convinced that they are going to spend all of eternity in heaven while people who follow other religions are headed for eternity in hell which to me is problematic. This site uses cookies. Christianity and Secularisation in South Africa: Probing the Possible Link between Modernisation and Secularisation, Secularisation or Modernisation: Teaching Christianity in China Since the 1920s, Religious Change and Secularisation in Scotland: An Analysis of Affiliation and Attendance, Editorial: Sin, Secularisation and Theologies of Reconstruction, CALLUM G. BROWN, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation 1800–2000. I suppose that if I had been born into a more rural part of South Africa or into more traditional Christian family my experience would have been vastly different. Religious believers often sugar-coat the violent verses of their religion in order to make it appear as if the texts are peaceful but if we are honest with ourselves and understand the times during which those texts were written, those violent commands were indeed carried out. According to the last population census that recorded religious identity, 79.8% of South African citizens identified as Christian. “We are seeing a much earlier and much sharper rise in the second wave or resurgence than we anticipated,” Prof. Ian Sanne, a member of the advisory committee, told South Africa’s News24. Edinburgh University Press. South Africa today has a fertility rate just above replacement levels—higher than that of the U.S., but much lower than that of most African nations. You see heaven is for Christians, people who worship the Lord Jesus Christ.” I was shocked, angry, but I pushed on “So then they will go to hell?” He gave a poultry “yes” and continued the class unperturbed and ignorant to the fact that he had just set in motion the dismantling of my relationship with religion. The Secularization of the West JAMES HITCHCOCK The great religious upheaval of the sixteenth century contributed to the long-term decline of religion and the rise of secularism in the West, although few of the participants could have foreseen this at the time. In addition to this, I grew skeptical of the idea of a loving God. My teacher looked somewhat perplexed but responded “Well, if they do not follow Christ then they cannot go to heaven. Copyright © 2020. They had to wear Western clothing, be baptized, have a Christian (European) name and renounce herbalists, circumcision and polygamy, before they were allowed to enjoy the amenities of Western civilization. The rise of secularism in South Africa | The inbetweener space. For now, at least that has not happened and no religious leader can present verifiable evidence to prove the existence of the supernatural hence my stance. on a number of events that disproved the secularization apologists’ claims. For a long time Thejane was skeptical of religiosity and his love of  books led him to the works of Carl Sagan. Moreover these religious leaders are also often not the best people to seek for life related advice. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Studies in World Christianity is abstracted and indexed in the following: The Church as a Sacrament in a Time of Pandemic: The Philippine ExperienceRhoderick John Suarez Abellanosa We will see how secularisation in Africa is part of the wider 5 Hugh McLeod, "Secularization", in: Adrian Hastings e.a. He was raised by a single mother who was a pious catholic, but was unable to project her faith onto Thejane. With colonialism, which began in South Africa in 1652, came the Slavery and Forced Labour Model. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. In 2019, over 66 percent of South Africa's total population lived in urban areas and cities. Another reason why stereotypes associating people of color with religious fundamentalism have developed is due to the West associating culture and religion with them. What does it mean for a society to be secular? I would describe myself as an Agnostic Buddhist or Agnostic. During Apartheid, black South Africans couldn’t work in the cities if they didn’t have a baptismal letter, and so responsible parents baptized their children and gave them English middle names. Although I do indeed hope that some sort of afterlife does exist, from a rational perspective I doubt it. Atheism is generally more castigated and lambasted in traditional black families, where Christianity often forms the backbone of the household and where children are expected to take up their parent’s faith. I could not bow down to such a despotic draconian. As has often happened around the world, growing secularization affects attitudes toward family size and toward women’s roles. Instead she worked two jobs so she could buy a house in a suburb she couldn’t afford, and enrolled me in a “Model C” primary school as one of four black kids in our class — a school with a library, which I started visiting because a girl I had a crush on was working as the library monitor.”. In the past it used to be that black South Africans needed to belong to a church run by a missionary station if they were to get any hope of attending the very first formal schools run by these missionaries. "Africans are notoriously religious" (Mbiti, John S., African Religions and Philosophy, London, Heinemann, 1969, p. 1).These opening words of Professor Mbiti's classic work African Religions and Philosophy, first published 30 years ago, are just as notorious as the African religiosity they purport to describe and they still correspond to most people's idea of the African reality. Alexander Chow, School of Divinity, University of EdinburghEmma Wild-Wood, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Afe Adogame, Princeton Theological SeminaryBrian Stanley, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Kirsteen Murray, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Terry Barringer, Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide, Cambridge, J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Trinity Theological Seminary, GhanaPaul Freston, Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, CanadaSebastian Kim, Fuller Theological SeminaryPeter Phan, Georgetown University, USADana Robert, Boston University, USAHeather J. Sharkey, University of Pennsylvania, USAMarina Wang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong KongCorey Williams, Leiden University, The Netherlands. Posted on April 12, 2016 by marknancarrow. “Perhaps it was fortunate failure on her part, but she must have just never quite got round to instilling that belief in me. It was from Sagan that Thejane found a name for his beliefs: he was a  Rationalist Humanist. The third section analyses statistical data on the state of religion in South Africa, while the last section offers some concluding remarks on the relationship between modernisation and secularisation in South Africa thus far. I believed that he has a plan and that prayer could help one to solve their problems and achieve success. These discrepancies became more and more glaring with each book that I read or each video that I watched and eventually it built up to a fiery crescendo that I could no longer ignore. Secularization in Africa: A Research Desideratum Herman Paul (h.j.paul@rug.nl) University of Groningen When, almost half a century ago, the Roman Catholic Secretariat for Non-Believers organized a conference on “secularization in Africa,” it did so at a time when secularization theory was the Moreover the smarmy and ingratiating attitudes of Chief Ayatollahs and infallible popes and unblemished priests irked me. tuc covid-19 resource center. My experience as a white middle class atheist has been a relatively easy one. My skepticism and critical views of organized religion grew after being exposed to the chauvinism that is encouraged by many religious leaders and which does exist amongst many religious people. ( Log Out /  For instance, many religious texts do in fact order violence. And if indeed he did have chosen people, wouldn’t those people  be living improved lives compared to people of other faiths? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. I feel fortunate that I grew up in a family that supported my belief systems and I wonder how many true atheists there are in South Africa, keeping their beliefs private due to fear of being ostracised in their conservative Christian community. This suggests a nationwide gravitation away from religiosity and towards social secularity. I have been asked to restate my understanding of secularization based on my enquiries over nearly forty years, since I raised the issue in 1965. The ancient spiritualism, and the ease with which they could reconcile it with Christian philosophy, historically allowed them to accept Christian doctrine and syncretize it with native beliefs. ( Log Out /  And I could not understand the admiration that many of my friends showed with their religion. I lost all faith in the existence of the supernatural in 2015 when I was a second year university student. The second section discusses the periods of anti-modernisation (1910–90) and modernisation (1990–2012) in South Africa. Judging by the problems faced among all of the world’s major religions, it seems like none of them are likely to be the chosen people. Secular ideas from the West influenced African state institutions, despite the existence of a secular tradition that predates colonialism in Africa. And he was not alone. Hence, most people believe the growing rate of atheism should be synonymous with secularism so as to create a … The secularisation theory of Max Weber states that modernisation inevitably leads to the decline of religion. Atheism has spread its wings to touch every corner of the world not only the west but Asia and Africa, two of the most religious continents in the world. He made this discovery at the age of 15. : Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 653. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Published in Studies in World Christianity 26.3. exam checklist; tenders; student portal; staff portal; apply today While I am in no way against religious moderates, I do not admire religious fundamentalism and feel that it promotes separatism which is not what the world needs for progress. Articles from historical, theological, and social scientific perspectives are equally welcome. See more. Some of the major ethnic South Africans include Zulu, Basotho, Venda, Xhosa, … Book Description: The Dutch Reformed Church, it was said in apartheid South Africa, was the National Party at prayer, and indeed, given that the Bible was so fundamental to much of the legislation that governed the apartheid state, that apparently satirical description had the ring of truth. You see, in order to be religious one must give up the most important human condition: our critical faculties. Throughout the twentieth century into the twenty-first, the world did not seem to become any less religious, but regions in South America, Africa, and Asia, became more religious leading some sociologists to argue that Europe’s secularization is an “exceptional case.” But this has left the United States something of a puzzle. The finding of the article is that the South African experience indicates that modernisation has an impact on religion, but the effect is not necessarily one of a decline in religion. Of course, I feel frustration, pique and even apoplexy every time I see “non-believers” being persecuted by the mass media, distrusted by the American electorate or being killed and punished in places where apostasy is a crime. In class that afternoon I stuck up my hand and asked my teacher the following question with the sincerity and naive innocence that only a child can have: “What happens to a muslim when they die? I was raised in a very conservative community where being religious is encouraged and hence I believed all of the pro-religious propaganda which I heard. South Africa is an important case study because it went through a rapid process of modernisation from the 1990s onwards. I was once having a dialogue with a friend of mine who is a Pentecostal Christian preacher and he did admit to me that he feels that 50% of people who are part of his congregation attend due to the fear of hell. Another dimension of … However South Africa registered an almost 20% drop in religious affiliation over a seven year period from 2005 to 2012. These results indicate that the atheist and secularist community in South Africa is growing, repudiating the misconception that South Africa is a pious and conservative Christian nation. The State of Secularism. However this assumption is, on the face of it, false, and the reality is much more nuanced than the stereotype would have one believe. “Black people still have some faint memory of these facts. South Africa may have ‘developed form of herd immunity against Covid' News. Read "Radical Secularization? Although I would not say that I am a confirmed Atheist, I definitely do not believe in the supernatural or that there is any being watching over us. US politics. I came to this conclusion in religious studies class one afternoon in grade six. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Thejane’s parents lapsed here as they never got round to having him baptized nor assigning him a Christian name. I decided that there was no God, and if I was wrong, I would rather go to hell then grovel at the feet of this ethereal dictator. I could not fathom the idea of eternal punishment and condemnation for a non-believer. However, despite being brought up in a supposedly Methodist family, my gravitation away from the holy books was met with little disapproval, in fact it was supported. The 2012 poll by the Win Gallup International Religiousity and Atheism index which measures global self-perceptions on belief, saw the number of religious South Africans drop from 83% in 2005 to 64% in 2012. Also, I am a firm believer that were it not for the fear of hell which many religious leaders ingrain into the minds of people from a young age, religions would not have as big a following as they do. African Neo-Pentecostalism in the Face of Secularization: Problems and Possibilities, by Benno van den Toren Thinking about Discipleship in Changing Contexts: Perceptions of Church Leaders of an Episcopal Diocese in South Sudan , by Jacob Haasnoot ( pdf ) Change ), Win Gallup International Religiousity and Atheism index. South African scientists said they are working with the World Health Organization to investigate a new variant of coronavirus, currently surging in many parts of the country. The third section analyses statistical data on the state of religion in South Africa, while the last section offers some concluding remarks on the relationship between modernisation and secularisation in South Africa thus far. Wilson (1966) provided a 'classic' definition of secularization which has been widely adopted by A-level text book authors, teachers and students for decades: Wilson (1966) defined secularization as "the process whereby religious thinking, practices and institutions lose social significance". At that time, I thought that this may have been a progressive step, but now when I think about it it was regressive. Though I was never really religious, I believed in God strongly. I realised that although they may have progressive aspects, the world’s major religious texts were written by men who did not have the kinds of knowledge that we have today and who to an extent had barbaric attitudes. If God was indeed loving as is often claimed, why would he watch as innocent people are murdered on a daily basis? Africans or South Africans and Bantu-speaking people form the major part of the population (approximately 35 million). Religion among black South Africans is a mix of pragmatism and spiritualism. What is the relationship between secularization and tolerance? Secularization is sometimes credited both to the cultural shifts in society following the emergence of rationality and the development of science as a substitute for superstition—Max Weber called this process the "disenchantment of the world"—and to the changes made by religious institutions to compensate. South Africa currently has more than 8,500 people hospitalized with COVID-19, surpassing the previous high of 8,300 recorded in August. Tebello Thejane is a black Atheist and member of “South African skeptics”. God gave off the awful impression that he was a petty, little man making plots and schemes in the sky, enforcing his “love” on us and not only expecting, but demanding our eternal oleaginous and acquiescent love and submission in return. South Africa's president in quarantine as virus cases rise. ( Log Out /  I could not understand how an ostensibly loving, omnipotent, and benevolent god could send “his children” to burn in eternal fire and brimstone in Hell. By Eshlin Vedan and Mark Nancarrow According to the last population census that recorded religious identity, 79.8% of South African citizens identified as Christian. South Africa has a population of approximately 55 million people comprising of diverse culture, religion, origin, and languages. The journal is concerned through its articles and book reviews to promote creative thinking and lively scholarly interchange in the interpretation of all aspects of Christianity as a world religion. The second section discusses the periods of anti-modernisation (1910–90) and modernisation (1990–2012) in South Africa. However South Africa registered an almost 20% drop in religious affiliation over a seven year period from 2005 to 2012. Secularization is more prominent in urban life than in rural life. Urbanization defines the share of urban population from the total population of a country. The first thing that I was struck by, apart from the difficulty for me to comprehend it all, was the staggering contradictions of monotheism. My mother is a practicing Hindu who prays everyday and my father serves as president of the Kwa- Zulu Natal Buddhist association. Despite secularism being fast growing, the views of those who remain irreligious are often not documented and as a result many people have developed stereotypes which associate high levels of religious adherence with certain ethnic groups. These include the Iranian Revolution, the rapid spread of Pentecostalism in the global South, communal violence in Southern Asia, the collapse of communism qua secular religion, etc. (eds. My contempt for the ugliness of religion only grew and festered as I encountered the work of Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. Background. During the colonial era, a secular approach to state formation and administration applied in spite of the strong … This article presents the conclusions and recommendations for further research that resulted from the GZB consultation “De-clining Religious Participation: Secularization and Discipleship in Africa,” which was held at the Evangelical Theological A simple definition of secularization is the declining importance of religion in a society. The first section examines the secularisation thesis of Weber and his supporters, as well as theories of desecularisation. For instance, black South Africans are often perceived as being very religious due to the high depictions of them in mass media with associations to Christian churches and Islam which has a major influence over parts of North Africa. During the country’s 2011 population census, the religious demographics of the country were not recorded as it was deemed irrelevant. According to this logic, Adolf Hitler could experience eternity in heaven had he had a deathbed conversion while people who live righteous lives but follow other faiths through no fault of their own are headed for hell. I was left disturbed after hearing of the views of many fundamentalist Christians and Muslims in particular towards Hindus and other non-Abrahamic religions which also led to me detesting organised religion. Minimally that means I have to provide a brief account of my A General Theory of Secularisation ( Martin 1978 ; Martin 1990 ; Martin 2002 ) and its subsequent extension in two books about Latin America, and some marginal extensions into Africa. South Africa, unlike in western Europe, secularization has been accompanied, not by a decline in religious devotion, but by a dramatic rise.’ It has been noted time and again that Pentecostalism, especially charismatic Pentecostalism or what I call modern Pentecostalism, is the fastest growing type of Christianity in Africa (Marshall 1992, 7-32). secularisation in Africa, in which we limit ourselves to Africa south of the Sahara. Buddhism and Christianity: Antagonistic or Complementary? Do they go to hell?”. Tolerance, Secularization and Democratic Politics in South Asia. South Africa is an important case study because it went through a rapid process of modernisation from the 1990s onwards. The beginning of the 21st century ushered in attempts to finally create unity among all the countries in Southern Africa. Some ethnic groups are unique to South Africa while others like Basotho crossed the border into the country. Secularization definition, separation from religious or spiritual connection or influences:The secularization of America can be seen in politics, legal decisions, and educational institutions, as well as in the arts and the media. This assumption is fed by racist “common knowledge” stemming from American prejudices. And so that’s what people did. A few days ago, Paul introduced us to secularization theory, and in particular to Charles Taylor’s book A Secular Age. When I lost all faith in the existence of the supernatural in 2015 when I younger! Instance, many religious leaders use the money given to them by the desecularisation theories of desecularisation are the ones. Learners are the same ones who preach chauvinism and ignorance towards other faiths Weber! But they are still practiced widely Inquiry into the country religious studies class one afternoon in six... 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