Die invloed van sekularisasie op die NG Kerk: ’n kerkhistories-sosiologiese perspektief

Pieter Kruger, Johan van der Merwe


The influence of secularisation on the DR Church: A church
historical and sociological perspective

The influence of religious
discourses and institutions in South Africa, as elsewhere, diminishes because of structural
secularisation. Social secularisation as another form of secularisation compromises the
'necessity’ for religion in modern day social culture. Humanistic Western Individualism is the
dominant social meaning system (also in South Africa) best associated with this process. The
actualisation of its priorities (personal freedom, privacy, emancipation of the self, freedom of
choice and to strive for personal affluence) plays a significant role in the lives of the Dutch
Reformed Church’s congregants. Social secularisation liberates people from ecclesiastical
doctrine as regulatory for personal life and reason and marks the growing indifference to the
official church. This leads to a legitimacy crisis concerning established religious meaning
systems. Ironically religion doesn’t disappear altogether because of secularisation. It does
however, transposes traditional forms of collective religion because the sustainment of religion
as phenomenon depends increasingly on religiosities in the private sphere. Consequently, the
proliferation of different personal, religious beliefs and practices also increases religious
pluralism within the Dutch Reformed Church, challenging its reformed identity.


Social construction; Structural secularization; Religious construction; Secularization of social culture; Secularization of personal; Privatization of religion; Transposition of religion

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5952/55-3-4-658


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ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

© 2014 Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, Stellenbosch.

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