BEREFT OF BELIEF: AN EXEGESIS INTO SCOTTISH SPIRITUALITY WITHIN A POST MODERN GENERATION
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” (Teilhard de Chardin, 2008: 182) Throughout time, religion has played an immense role in our social, cultural and intellectual lives (Lambert 2004) though today this modus vivendi seems to have dramatically declined. Evidenced through surveys and censuses, 2015 showed an absolute cultural majority of Scotland’s white adult population as having ‘no religion’ with these figures gradually rising (Woodhead 2017). Building on Brown (1997), Field (2001; 2014) and Clements’ (2017) previous work the main purpose of this research is to ascertain how religion has altered over the last three generations whilst simultaneously discovering what spirituality means to Scottish Millennials. An examination of current works from sociologists of religion has been conducted in order to assess the elevation and significance of spirituality within the Western world and specifically Scotland, fundamentally intertwined with the decline of traditional religious practices with the aim to improve understanding of this new form of expression. Qualitative data or ‘thick description’ was gathered through the primary research method of semi structured interviews alongside photo aids, collated from interviewees broadly representative of the adult population, currently residing within the post-industrial central belt of Scotland, transcribed and analysed thematically so as to identify patterned themes or meanings from the gathered data. Findings from the study show that various sociological forces contributed to the sacularisation of orthodox Scottish religion into an individualised form of belief termed spirituality which has become the predominant belief for Millennials.