20 Feb 2024

Discussion by the Natolin Religion and Politics Nest - "Secularisation of Societies: Destiny or Normality?"

From 19:30 till 21:00
Winter Garden
Natolin (Warsaw) Campus

On 20 February 2024, the Natolin Religion and Politics Nest hosted a discussion titled Secularisation of Societies: Destiny or Normality?

The students had the opportunity to listen to Prof. Mirosława GRABOWSKA, a specialist in the sociology of religion, President of the Polish Association of Sociology, and until 2023 Director of the Centre for Public Opinion Research. From 2023, she is the President of the Polish Sociological Association.

Main points of discussion:

Prof. GRABOWSKA stressed that many societies demonstrate changing attitudes towards religions and religiosity. Western European societies undergo a rapid process of secularisation, while the situation varies from country to country depending on specific national history, religious or ethnic landscape, or economic developments. The shrinking authority of religious leaders and churches contributes to the process and certain scholars predict the decline of religion in the Western World. A slightly different situation reigns in the United States where the resurgence of religious “integrisme” could be observed.

The Eastern EU neighbourhood shows to a certain extent different developments. Religious revival followed decades of persecution of religions during the communist period and Orthodoxy proved to be more resistant to modern trends, among the Southern neighbours, another confessional context shapes attitudes towards religion. Increased mobility and massive immigration into the European Union lead to a confrontation of people with different religious sensitivity and perceptions of the role of religious factors in public spaces. Consequently, tensions between traditional European societies and newcomers arise and pose problems for public authorities and political responsibilities.

Besides the decline of traditional religiosity in Europe, specialists observe the emergence of a need for spirituality. Sects fill the space left by religious communities, Scientologists attract believers of rationality and knowledge as the only paradigm of people’s behaviour, and environmentalists impose ethics of protection of species and climate, including the accordance of rights to animals and plants copied on human rights.

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