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Religion and Scientific Explanations
During the Industrial Revolutfon, scientific explanations began to compete with religious views of life. Rapid growth in scientific and technological knowledge gave rise to the idea that science would ultimately answer questions that had previously been in the realm of religion. Many scholars believed that increases in scientific knowledge would result in secu- 1llrlZlltioll-the process by which religious beliefs, practices. and institutions lose their significance In sectors ofsociety and culture (Berger. 1967). Secularization involves a decline of religion in everyday life
and a corresponding increase in organizations that are highly bureaucratized. fragmented. and impersonal (Chalfant. Beckley.and Palmer. 1994). As previously discussed. some people argue thai'"' science and technology have overshadowed religion in t~ United States. but others point to the resurgence of religious beliefs in recent years and an unprecedented development of alternative religions (Kosmin and Lachman. 1993; Roof. 1993;Singer with Lalich, 1995). The issue of whether religious or scientific explanations best explain various aspects of social life (such as when a person becomes a "human being" or when a person dies) is not limited to the tll~chings of schools and religious organizations: Members of the contemporary
media are also key players in the framing of religious and scientific debates. and journalists may influence how we view a number of key issues

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