No one has captured the prophecy of religion's evaporation better than Nietzsche's madman, who stands in the middle of a packed marketplace and cries out: "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him". The disappearance of God, or what Max Weber termed the "disenchantment of the world" became the spirit of the modern age. The trend was meant to be irreversible. The more urbanised, industrialised, and educated our society would get, the less religious, and the more secularised it would be.
But reality has not lived up to the secularist prophecy. The cost of modernisation in the era of advanced capitalism was much too heavy to be borne by the individual and society alike. Modernity broke shackles of gods, tradition, and family and created new ones. In its iron cage the individual turned into a tiny insignificant cog in a machine over which s/he has no control. Stripped of the protection of relatives, clan, church, and increasingly welfare state, s/he stands naked at the mercy of the market and its rampant forces.
The process of secularisation has no doubt succeeded in dramatically transforming the face of religion and its public status. Religion no longer lays down the blueprint for the socio-political order. But it has not withered away as predicted. Instead, it has assumed a more personalised form, one intimately connected to the individual's inner needs and concerns.
Interessante synspunkter, som faktisk også er relevante her i Danmark.