domingo, 4 de dezembro de 2005

Para reflectir sobre a secularização

A propósito dos crucifixos nas escolas, levantou-se uma tempestade, com manifestos exageros dos laicistas e de alguns eclesiásticos (ou de leigos que são, frequentemente, mais papistas do que o papa).
Para reflectir sobre o que, nas sociedades ocidentais, está subjacente a este debate, vale a pena ler o livro "Sacred and Secular - Religion and Politics Worldwide", de Ronald Inglehart e Pippa Norris, publicado em 2004, e que acaba de receber o "Virginia Hodgkinson Research Prize". Encontra-se quase integralmente disponível online.
Destaco, da sinopse:
"Seminal thinkers of the nineteenth century -- Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud -- all predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. The belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century.
During the last decade, however, the secularization thesis has experienced the most sustained challenge in its long history. Critics point to multiple indicators of religious health and vitality today, from the continued popularity of churchgoing in the United States, to the emergence of New Age spirituality in Western Europe, the surge of fundamentalist movements and Islamic parties in the Muslim world, the evangelical revival sweeping through Latin America, and the widespread ethno-religious conflicts in international affairs.
The traditional secularization thesis needs updating. Religion has not disappeared and is unlikely to do so. Nevertheless, the concept of secularization captures an important part of what is going on. This book develops a theory of secularization and existential security, building on key elements of traditional sociological theories and revising others. This book demonstrates that: (1) The publics of virtually all advanced industrial societies have been moving toward more secular orientations during the past fifty years; but (2) The world as a whole now has more people with traditional religious views than ever before-- and they constitute a growing proportion of the world's population. Though these two propositions may seem contradictory, they are not. The fact that the first proposition is true, helps account for the second?because secularization has a surprisingly powerful negative impact on human fertility rates."

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