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Secularization, R.I.P. Author(s): Rodney Stark Source: Sociology of Religion, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Autumn, 1999), pp.

249-273 Published by: Association for the Sociology of Religion, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3711936 Accessed: 24/01/2009 05:29
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1999,60:3 249-273 Sociology Religion of

Secularization, R.I.P.
Stark* Rodney
University Washington of

From beginning, scientists celebrated secularization despite factthat the thesis the the social have it never consistent empirical was out with Morethan150years Tocqueville pointed that ago reality. "the byno means with and has accord [thesecularization] far theory," thislack accord grown of facts worsesincethen.Indeed, onlyshred credibility thenotionthatsecularization been has the of for on now between anda bygone of Faith.In thisessayI placehasdepended contrasts taking Age assemble workof manyrecent the historians are unanimous theAge of Faithis pure who that in even widespread medieval was, nostalgia thatlackof religious participation if anything, more times now.Next,I demonstrate there been recent than have no in that religious changes Christendom thatare consistent with the secularization - not evenamong I thesis scientists. also expand assessment thesecularization doctrine non-Christian to that societies of shouing noteventhehighly in in declines response quiterapid to magical"folk religions" Asia haveshownthe slightest Final are as is laid modernization. words offered secularization torest.

For nearlythree centuries,social scientists and assorted western intellectuals have been promising the end of religion. Each generation has been confident that within another few decades, or possiblya bit longer, humanswill "outgrow" belief in the supernatural.This proposition soon came to be known as the secularizationthesis, and its earliest proponents seem to have been British, as the Restoration in 1660 led to an era during which militant attacks on faith were quite popular among fashionable Londoners (Durant and Durant 1965). Thus, as far as I am able to discover, it was Thomas Woolston who firstset a date by which time modernity would have triumphed over faith. Writing in about 1710, he expressed his confidence that Christianity would be gone by 1900 (Woolston 1733). Half a century later Frederick the Great thought this was much too pessimistic, writing to his friend Voltaire that "the Englishman
Woolston .. . could not calculate what has happened quite recently. . .. It

[religion] is crumbling of itself, and its fall will be but the more rapid' (in Redman 1949: 26). In response,Voltaire ventured his guess that the end would come within the next 50 years.Subsequently,not even widespread pressreports concerning the second "GreatAwakening"could deter Thomas Jeffersonfrom
* I unuldliketo thank Andrew I with citations thenonexistencean on Greeley, whom havelongbeenexchanging of in Direct to Rodney conrespondence Ageof Faith European history. (Box Stark, Deparnent Sociology 353340), of WA of Seattle, 98196. University Washington,


"soon" became"underway" "ongoing. that (1968: 3) told the New York religious Berger are believers likelyto be foundonly in smallsects. when MaxWeberexplainedwhy modernization wouldcausethe "disenchanthis ment"of the world.everyweek. huddledtogetherto resista secularculture. stage" social evolutionand a new age wasdawningin which the scienceof sociologywould But. in contrastto all of this intellectualpussy-footing.250 OF SOCIOLOGY RELIGION predictingin 1822 that "thereis not a youngman now living in the United Stateswho will not die a Unitarian" a (Healy 1984:373).."Severalyearslater." lightof the recent of lionization the Dalai Lama the Americanmediaandhis cordialwelcome by .while the Methodists Baptists conand later. Comtedid not sayexactly replace when all this wouldbe accomplished.it alreadywas his in nations. just as Jefferson's as Comte announced failed. the godshaveat lastbeenfound andexploded." worldwide Berger imagery.backin France. mostwidelyreadjournals now to vie with each other in telling us that the time for religionis past. E. (1905:8) reported "the is everywhere that religion is a meresurvivalfroma gainingground opinion .but they Subsequent prophetsof secularization have been somewhatmore circumspect to dates.they too greatest all neuroticillusionswoulddie upon the therapist's than"soon. wouldonly saythat it wouldhappen"soon."and while he admittedthat it evolutionary hundred to might require"several years" complete the process. Wallace(1966: 264example. that At the startof the twentiethcentury." 1878MaxMiiller that: (p. as a resultof prophesy Auguste humansocietywasoutgrowing "theological the of modernization.and when SigmundFreudreassured disciplesthat this of couch. Crawley A. Of course. tinuedtheirspectacular of growth(FinkeandStark1992). and its extinctiononly a matterof time. primitive age. Thus." anthropologist Anthony F. C.that faith is a hallucination an infantile or out that disease. 218) complained seemjust the Every day. Times the by "the21stcentury. generation Unitarians wereas scarceas ever. rates have been no less certain.the distinguished that 265) explained to tens of thousandsof American undergraduates 'the futureof religionis extinction. as Wilson (1982: 150-151) has describedsecularization "a long term Bryan in and implicitin occurring humansociety" pointedout that "theprocess process conditionof concedes once the ideaof an earlier at the conceptof secularization than that of our or life that wasnot secular. similarfashion." Peter Then in 1968. that.however.And throughout illustrious well underway the advanced career.as often as Frederich In Engelsgloated about how the socialist revolution would cause religion to In he evaporate. Unleashinghis gift for memorable like of saidthat "thepredicament the believeris increasingly that of a Tibetan In on visit astrologer a prolonged to an American university.everyquarter. that wasat least muchlesssecular owntimes. religionas the basisformoraljudgments..everymonth." wouldbe no morespecific For or A generationlater.

but the overallprocess not volatile. Jeffersonpredictedthe next generationwould find Christianbeliefs. "The rational structure societyitselfprecludes of in muchindulgence explained. corresponding similarupward relativelyconstanttrendof religious trendsin suchaspects modernization economicdevelopment.I quotehis statements during 1960sonly because they so fullyexpress the moodof the times. Berger's had tation. the secularization doctrine always has dragging nestledwithin the broader theoretical framework modernization of theories.. Keepin mind religiousness decrease that modernizationis a long. to decline. supematuralist thinking. whenhis prediction only threeyearsleft to run.linear. permits this someproponents the thesisto of shift definitionsas neededin orderescapeinconvenientfacts (cf..and especially faith in the divinityof Jesus. What most concernedEngelswere not bishops. of as urbanization.is one aspectof it. then secularization not volatileand. upward to be a long. identifiessecularization deas . revolutions. One definition. by gradual. That is. Notice five thingsaboutall of thesesecularization prophesies.Finke1992).If secularization the resultof modernization is is is than or.Yamane 1997).gradual. must increase.Indeed.often referred to as the macroversion (cf.I. Tschannen 1991.R. Dobbelaere1987. unfortunately.P. (cf. all over the world" as BryanWilson (1975: 81) because. urbanization.. is that modernization the causalengine First. piety. Lechner1996).In any event." This is very significantbecausein recent years secularization been has defined in several ways (Hanson 1997.it and rationalization being proposedthat as industrialization. sincemodernization so advanced is in manynationsthat "postmodernism" latestbuzzword.rather a and proceeding suddenfits andstarts. Shiner 1967) and. Thus. relatively process.andsecularization assumed tracethe reciprocal this curve. 1996.Berger in secularization I discussat the end of this recantedhis belief (as gracefully the essay). andothercalamities sudden maycausean occasional blip in the trendlines.In termsof time seriestrends.modernization a long.Lechner1991.implausible and would limit themselves to the minimalistconception of God sustainedby Unitarians. is is to of curve. linear. especiallybelief. and Wallace (1966: 265) asserted powersis doomedto die out.there is universal agreement the godsinto retirement.Freud of wroteaboutreligious not illusions. 251 SECULARIZATION. (Hadden1987.a moodthatI shared Stark1963). indeed.it too will display long-term. can The secondthing to notice aboutthe secularization is prophecies that they are not directedprimarily towardinstitutional differentiation they do not of merelypredictthe separation churchand state or a decline in the direct. mustbe assumed is the it that secularization at least"ongoing" the extent that a significant is to downward trendin religiousness be seen.but the religious "fantasies" the masses. secular of Theirprimary concernis withindividual authority churchleaders. similenow admitsto rathera differentinterpreto variouscampuses. 1997. Dobbelaere 1987. and education. downward curve. aboutchurch that "beliefin supernatural taxes. constant Wars.

of course.so there is a secularization consciousness. the prophetsof secularization theorywerenot and are not merelywritingaboutsomethingso obviousor limited. me note Karel breathtaking is of in this issue.there wouldbe nothingto argue about. But.cite this passage have muchadmired. "the religiousness individuals not a valid indicatorin evalis Such uatingthe processof secularization. this means that the modem West has producedan increasingnumberof who look uponthe worldand their own lives withoutthe benefitof religious individuals interpretations. with whoseworkI always disagreement Berger. Instead. side of has it herethatthe process secularization a subjective as well.PeterBerger. resulting in some distinguishedstudies (Casanova1994. especially politicalandeducational domination. if the churcheslose power. the secularization thesis. example.These rhetoric. This refers to a decline in the social powerof once-dominant other social religiousinstitutionswhereby have escaped from institutions. LillianeVoye and KarelDobbelaere secular (1994: 95) explainedthat becausescience is "athoroughly perspective this and on the world" has come to dominatethe educationalcurricula.Indeed.Everyone mustagreethat.252 SOCIOLOGYOF RELIGION institutionalization (Dobbelaere 1987. previous my who of but as a contrastto the recenttacticby otherproponents secularization. is implied of of there is a secularization societyand culture. Put simply. it is insincere.if personalpiety fades. Nor are primary as aspectsof with religious life any longersuffused or ritual. the sameis true and bishops of Lutheran Anglicanbishops and neverwerenearly (although bishops probably so powerful they now arethoughtto have been).as we have seen. that of contrary evidencebypretending the mountain seekto evadethe growing and to piety theorymerelypertains deinstitutionalization any trendsin personal evasionin his article Dobbelaere's Let areirrelevant. recentlyBerger(1997) gracefully worknot to emphasize fromhis earlier I theoryof secularization. changes have. have lesspoliticalpowerthan they once possessed.the churcheswill lose of modernproponent long the mostsophisticated power. Martin 1978)." revisionism not only historically the false. public symbols. institutions.wasentirelycandidon this point. prior religious If this wereall that secularization means. has . at a conferencein Rome in 1993. in contemporary for Catholic Europe.As Moreover.Havingoutlinedthe of macro (1967: 107-108)noted: Berger aspects secularization. his withdrew supportfor the As noted.Those who employit revertto celebrating demiseof individualpiety whenever they see a fact that seems to be supportiveor wheneverthey believe they are speakingto an audienceof fellow devotees. At issueis not a narrowpredictionconcerninga growing of separation churchand state. and to the extent that prophets it macrointerests hasbeen to claimthat theyareso linkedthat a theyexpressed a decline in one necessitates decline in the other. Thus. Thus. fromthe start the have stressed of secularization personalpiety. aroused scholarly interest. Martin 1978).personalpiety will fade.

I.as will be seen. and Exactly!That is preciselywhat the secularization if true. Andrew (1994: 272) so aptlyput it.P. participation most nationsof northernand westernEurope to with high they wouldbe reciprocal the trendsin modernization. and the presumed as betweenreligion incompatibility andscienceseemsmythical. "beliefin supernatural powers." this is so.while mostdiscussions secularization of dom. Beginning levels of faith and practiceat the end of the eighteenthcentury." historical no to However. of secularization predicts marked The third notice aboutthe secularization thesis is that.as for Voye and Dobbelaere.culminatingin very low .ForComteand for it Wallace. then scientists oughtto be to be a relatively lot. Vladimir routedKarl has Marx. long-term thesis has alwaysbeen. aftermore expectations." of focuson ChristenFifthand finally. power of spirit thishasalsogradually and and the explains agnosticism atheism which promoted decline religious of practices.R. in the oddformulation Bryan Wilson(1968: superstitious by with the impactof scientificandsocialscientifichindsights.is the claimthat of all aspects modernization. Thus. Whatis so. Voye empirical prophesy albeit a bit late. "Christianity. wenton to claim: thesuccessful removal science allkinds anthropomorphismsourthinking of of from have by into a the transformed traditional conceptof "Godas a person" a beliefin a life-force.Or.all leadingproponents the thesisapplyit globally. secularization regarded an absorbing . 253 SECULARIZATION.events and trendsin easternEurope the nationsof the former and SovietUnion do not support these as Instead. will be seen. it isn'tso. is science that will free us fromthe fettersof faith.as will be seen. it is irreversible. Now forspecifics. 86). But. as Wallaceexplainedin the to and this is going to passagequoted above. But." Hence. implicitin thing to all versions explicitin most.However.thatonce achieved is as state Fourth. THE MYTHOF RELIGIOUS DECLINE to beliefand Manyscholars appear believethat if ratesof individual religious for weregraphed. instillingmysticalimmunity. has lost generaltheological If plausibility.scientists about are expected irreligious as religious anyoneelse. "St. Greeley than 70 yearsof militant effortsby the state to achieve secularization."but.it is not merely belief in Christthat is "doomed die out. the resulted in "desacrilizing content of learning and the world-viewof earlier students." as Muslims. and of it is science that has the mostdeadlyimplications religion. one has bothered explainthis to interesting memory. is that a declinein the religiousness the individual." they by Citing essays Dobbelaere.wouldfullysatisfyWoolston's and Dobbelaere's claims.Allah is fatedto join Jehovahas only "an happen"allover the world.the master trends are assumedto have been ever downward.

we aredirectedto note a steep decline in church attendancein much of Europeand to inferfrom this an is erosion of individualfaith as well.Bruce1995. on the groundsthat participation low These viewsare of because a lackof the beliefsneededto motivateattendance.therehas been doctrine. although too.even proposing larization that on discourse the grounds it hadserved fromsocialscientific eliminated only there functionsandbecause and polemical." of an age of "scientific datado not revealthe arrival of current remain . wrongin all respects. of Indeed. declinein European religious no demonstrable participation! long-term has variedfromtime to time in responseto profound probably participation social dislocationssuch as warsand revolutions. as soon to disappear (Wilson1966. not only has American religiousness gone into decline.to classifya nation as highly secularized high religiousness subjective the believe in God is absurd. too residuals. questionaboutreligion important in it. the rate of church morethan trebled(FinkeandStark1992).the secularization of the verystart. Forevidencein support these claims.it fails lengeto the secularization Granted. ideological froma religious or wasno evidencein favorof anygeneral consistent"shift peras affairs a secular to iod in human (Martin1991:465). chalthe Americancase continuesto offera devastating Moreover. Forexample.254 SOCIOLOGY RELIGION OF And the latterare regarded but insignificant currentlevels of religiousness.astounding period" withplainfactsfrom thesishasbeen inconsistent it mayseem.having noted the popularity the secularization Alexis de Tocquevillethen doctrineamongeighteenth-century philosophers. when the largemajority its inhabitants in Europe as GraceDavie(1990b:395) put is. commented: withtheirtheory. And.whileother has actually membership or haveheld steady have risenmodestly indicesof commitment (Greeley1989). not why do peopleno longerbelieve. of duties religion all fervor the outward ([1840]1956:319).Lechner1991.but why do they "persist believing in with even minimalregularity their religious but see no need to participate Of institutions?" these two majorbasesfor rejectingclaimsaboutthe secularwas the izationof Europe. the nationsin the world.but the far more important and was Europe participation verylow in northern western pointis thatreligious beforethe onsetof modernization.ratherthan theoretical. 1982. centuries many is of The secondreasonto rejectclaimsaboutthe secularization Europe that Levels atheism. . not In the morethan 150 yearssinceTocquevillemadethoseobservations. of 1996). in Europe First.Therearecertain the populations Unfortunately. to the DavidMartin (1965) wasthe firstcontemporary sociologist reject secube that the concept of secularization thesisoutright. claimthat religious participation neververyhigh in as is and northern western Europe the one thatmuststrikemostreaders dubious. factsbyno meansaccord while in in Europe whose unbeliefis only equalledby their ignoranceand debasement. peoplefulfillwith one of the freestandmostenlightened America.

pleasure.they did but taste with their earsthe solemnities the rushed in 1997:476). ships. Blessed Giordanoof Rivalto reportedthat. attended mass in bed: in but fashion. OF THEMYTH PASTPIETY that "knows" once upon a time the worldwas pious. Theydidn'tgo to churchin the mornings a Christian of lying in the armsof their wives.the that the aristocracy EnglishmonkWilliam of Malmesbury complained rarely churchandeven the morepiousamongthem"attended" at home. likeso manyonce-upon-a-time But.or Muslim conception of a pious past is mere nostalgia.and [whenthey do attend]rarely sermons. The anonymous authorof Divesand Pauper that English ([circa1410] 1976: 189) complained "thepeoplethesedays. (in moring mass by through a priest a hurry Fletcher As for the ordinary the people."1 about1430.and "worse that they too things. theyknowlittle of what admittedthat the regular pertainsto their salvation. Antonino(in Coulton1938:192) wrotethat In Holy 1 Mytranslation Middle from English.andso on.most prominenthistoriansof medievalreligionnow agreethat there never was an "Ageof Faith"(Morris 1993. . ."The DominicanpriorHumbert Romansin his handbook of On theTeaching Preachers.Humbert frankly acknowledged the masses go "rarely to to so church.he suggestedto a local womanthat she take her daughter churchat least on feastdays.ultra-orthodox such todaylingeronly in isolated fundamentalists.advised friars of Murray involvescatchingthemat markets tournaments. Duffy 1992.only to be to informedthat "It is not the custom"(Murray 1972: 92-94).[Andwhentheymust attend]theycome late and leaveearly. Writing in the eleventh century.this Jews.R. the massesrarelyentered a church.St. areloathto hearGod'sService. 255 SECULARIZATION. upon arrivingin Florenceto preach. in theirbedchambers. his that "reaching laity the notes.." In similarterms.Obelkevich 1979.Murray 1972. Bossy 1985. and their privateworshipwas directed toward an arrayof spirits and supernatural agencies. Thomas 1971.I."which and in as Murray interprets "a fair enough sign that they were not to be caught in churches. Delumeau1977.Alexander assessment medievalItalianreligious of life Murray's is typical:"substantial sectionsof thirteenth-century attended society hardly churchat all.during middleagesandduringthe Renaissance. They wouldrather to a tavernthanto go Church. only some of them Christian(Gentilecore1992.Humbert clergy were so involved in gambling." "scarcelycome to church. recognizably Thomas1971). Schneider 1990. tales. Coulton 1938)." Finally. Sommerville1992.P." that Indeed.that in Everyone olden daysmostpeople exhibitedlevelsof religious practiceand concernthat socialsubcultures as the Amish.

. tage of what ruralparishesdid exist lacked a pastormuch of the time.This was confirmedwhen testedhis diocesanclergy. it or couldtranslate knew the Lord's the priestsand curatesin England Prayer in 1551 the Bishop of Gloucester into English." Prayer of Oxforddescribedthe parishclergyas "dumb dogs"(Coulton 1938: 157). Moreover.many to withoutanyobligation reside(Coulton1938). say. . Vincent in de Pauldiscovered 1617 that his local priestknew no Latin. and not. beingignorant.Similarly.not even the Giovanni in wordsof absolution (Delumeau1977).St." who nevervisited their sees Indeed. even where there was an visitation was "Absenteeism rife"(Duffy1987:88).at least25 percentof estimated andup to 80 percentin the Dioceseof in the parishes the Dioceseof Strasbourg Geneva had no clergy. and far fewer are those who take communion. or Prayer. weregivento papalproteges That religiousparticipationwas lacking even in the cities is not very when we realizethat going to churchin. such dioceses were not unknown. The bishop's assigned pastor. untilthe late middleagesthat thereeven weremorethana few Indeed. in of 192 parishes Oxfordshire during1520 found58 absentees(Coulton1938: P. . caring and whichthey know little fortheirown soulsor forkeepingGod'scommandments. parishclergywho could not tell who was the authorof the Lord's whereit wasto be found"(Coulton1938:158).171 could not repeat systematically and Prayer the Ten Commandments 27 did not know the authorof the Lord's of the next year BishopHooperfound "scores (Thomas1971: 164)." Antonino went on to blame most of this on "thecarelessness evil of conscience theirparish priests. Indeed. extensivesurveyof surviving revealsthem to be too smallto have held churchesin variouspartsof Europe more than a tiny fraction of local inhabitants(Brooke and Brooke 1984). example.a largepercenin ruralareas(Morris1993). They use for and enchantments themselves fortheirbeasts. 1547Archbishop . .at a time when nearly everyone chapels as EamonDuffynoted." In further of an parish support these reports. To make mattersworse. Prayer. surprising the average personto standin an unheatedbuildingto heara service required Latinby priestswho may which was conductedentirely in incomprehensible indeed not have been speakingLatinat all.Of 311 pastors. Acrossthe channel. but many of whom were simply the Bede([730]1955:340) advised The nonsense syllables. the fifteenthcentury.256 SOCIOLOGY RELIGION OF seldomattendmassandthat "very Tuscanpeasants manyof themdo not confess once a year. He for that duringthe sixteenthcentury.H. Sawyer(1982: 139) notedthat in northern "Bishops Europe 156).it wasn't towns(not countingthe private outsideof the cities and larger churches parish lived for maintained the localnobility). Venerable mumbling becauseso few Englishpriestsand monksknew any futurebishopEgbertthat Creedand of offeredtranslations both the [Apostle's] Latin"Ihave frequently In 1222the Council into Englishto manyunlearned the Lord's priests. Almosta thousandyearsafterBede'seffortsto teach clergyat least the Lord's WilliamTyndalenotedin 1530that hardly of any nothinghadchanged. Indeed.

St. EamonDuffy(1992) has effectively ance of the parishclergy from the contents of the very first "primers" clergy for that began to be distributed in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries." the fifteenthcentury. but that they were entirely ignorant of their contents. A typical instance involved a man who claimed frequentvisions of Maryand who.Despite these very modest goals. envy or lust or killing a man or insultingsomeone with offensive wordswas a sin.for example. He was asked if pride or .These hearingsrevealedthat most parishioners reporting such visions were ignorant of the Ten Commandments and the Seven Deadly Sins. Bernardino Siena observeda priest "whoknewonly the Hail Mary.and usedit even at the elevationof the Mass" demonstrated ignorthe (Duffy1987: 88). duringan interrogationin 1518. "Ignoranceof the formal content of faith was general. and the Apostle's Creed.Thus. Similar plans to catechize the laity were adopted throughoutEurope. other than membersof the educated elite. the Seven Works of Mercy. . of the Brindisi-Oria Latin" (Gentilcore1992: priests"couldbarelyreadand could not understand 42).P.Hail Mary. 257 SECULARIZATION. As Colin Morris (1993: 232) put it. Given such clerical ignorance. proposed that a massive campaign of elementaryreligiousinstructionof the laity be undertaken. he did not know any of these in whole or in part. it is no wonder that the massesknew next to nothing in terms of basic Christian culture.R. most of them written in the local language rather than in Latin and preparedfor those who alreadywere serving as clergy. at the Council of Lambeth in 1281." Morris then recounted an instance of a village priest who managedto teach many in his congregation to recite the "OurFather"in Latin. it seems unlikely that many of the laity. The Lateran Council of 1215. "He said . Clerical ignoranceis not surprising when we recognizethat "therewere and no seminaries" therefore mostpriests "learned rubrics" a "smatand virtually as to of Latin" an apprentice "apriestwho had himselfhad little or no tering In of training. noting that they had not the slightest idea of what it meant (possibly the priest didn't either). found that most of his Bovio. Other examples come from investigations of scores of incidents involving religiousapparitions(mostly of Mary) in Spain during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. were limited to the most elementary aspects of doctrine and practice .. Later this was expanded to include the Ten Commandments. the Seven Sacraments.since so many priests did not. was asked if he knew the Ten Commandmentsand the Seven Deadly Sins. That booklets. diocese in southernItaly. ever masteredthese simple lessons .I. It wasn't merely that they could not recite them. in addition to requiringall Catholics to confess and to take communion at least once a year during the Easter season. simple lists of the sacraments and of the sins that should be confessed -shows that church officials thought most serving clergy knew considerablyless than a modern 10year-oldattending parochialschool.and the Seven Deadly Sins (Duffy 1992). the English bishops responded by adopting the aim of teaching the laity the Lord'sPrayer.

for pews.God preserve theft wasa verygreatsin"(in Christian 1981: us.there wereperiodicexplosionsof massreligious and the movements including Waldensians timesas new sectarian medieval 1992).nudgedtheirneighbours. Indeed. and even let off guns. It mustbe noted too. That is. so misbehaved to turnthe serviceinto before to Thomas. "thenotionof an Age of Faith. They werea smallminority: saidFraGiordano. that even when peoplebackthen did go to church while and they oftendid so unwillingly behavedveryinappropriately there. religiousrebellions . jostled population told jokes.martyrs few. are tional religiousorganizations strong.' in enthusiasm To be sure. morally.The but withinchurches. 1996b). to conductentirelyunreligious and eagerly of denouncedthe Tuscanpeasants his diocesebecause of Archbishop Florence "in the churchesthemselvesthey sometimesdance and leap and sing with women" Coulton 1938: 193). 154).often under they compulsion. of in had resulted "thegreatoffenceof the goodandthe greatrejoicing the bad" fartsin churchtoday (Thomas1971: 159-162).258 OF SOCIOLOGY RELIGION that he did not know.knitted.attractedlargefollowings(Lambert the Albigensians are such outbursts not to be expectedwhereconvenhave clarified elsewhere." are are arefew. cease usingthem and for storage of crops and sheltering primarilyfor indoor marketplaces alone there were livestock. 'The friars that era]werenot typicalfigures a [of life in freakish freakish but.Theirmendicant age.as I . However.The eminenthistorianKeithThomasnot only notedthat in late medievaltimes"it at as is problematical to whethercertainsectionsof the population Britain] [of at this timehadany religion all. fell asleep. A man who issuedloathsome would not drawcheers from part of the congregationin any British surely withscoffing his speeches."Church made coarseremarks.For example. church. farting.throughthe centuriesthere was a (in constant flow of complaintsand threatsdirectedtuwardlocal parishes.preachers few." went with considerable "as church. .between 1229 and 1367 in England markets. to eachof thesehe replied andhe saidthat.even if he accompanied efforts An additionalsign of the times was that peopleoften did gatherregularly activities.but only wherereligiousapathyand alienationare widespread (Stark 1996a. figures a typicalage.He wasaskedif theftwasa sin. in churches" eleven episcopal"fulminat(tions) againstholding (Coulton1938:189)." Alexander (1972:83) disputed Murray in he pointedout (1972: 106).Presentations a travestyof what was intended" according of how"Members the courtsand scoresof clericalmemoirs ecclesiastical report and hawked spat. Summingup his surveyof popularreligion in thirteenth-century Instead. . to often enougheven towardthose in chargeof cathedrals. OVirgins wasa lastingwonderto contemporaries. Italy."but "thatmanyof thosewhodid [goto church] When the commonpeopledid show up in reluctance. in with misbehaving who tell records of a man in Cambridgeshire wascharged andscoffing loathsome churchin 1598afterhis "most speeches" striking.and.

R. LaurenceIannaccone(1996) has reconAs structed time seriesthat does showa modestdecline in churchattendancein a Britainduringthe twentiethcentury. of in this era . If we use 1800 as the benchmark. duringmedievaltimesofferadditional testimonyagainstimagesof widespread in involvement organized religion. seemsnot to out As Europe times.the secularization thesis is with either stabilityor increase:it requires general.It makesno provisionfor reportssuch as that of patternof religious GabrielLa Bras(1963) that FrenchCatholicstodayparticipate morewillingly andfrequently. less than five percentof the total populationof these parishestaking communionduringa given year.based the four"Great Festivals" . statistics religious the best of these can be foundin the reports writtenby variousAnglicanbishops and archbishops followinglengthyvisitationtripsto their parishes. Smith 1996).I.Incredibly. The "market" in my earlier theory of religiousness developed (Stark1985. 1998b. have improved however. of and Mark Smith(1996) found there had been no change between 1740 and 1865 . a incompatible long-term decline. Indeed.a periodof intensive industrialization.Finkeand publications Stark1988.This findingis offsetboth by the lackof similar declinesin mostotherEuropean nations.and Christmas. of the time." . then churchmembership Britainis in highertoday.Thus the Oxford diocesan visitations reportthat 30 parishesin Oxfordshiredrew a total in on combined of 911 communicants 1738.Easter.as well as by studiessuggesting recent increasesin churchparticipation lower-class.7)that"Allourancestors literal believers. fargreater with of whattheyaredoing.religious participation passed of medieval on behavior Someof the do.In 1800.Othervisitationreports low yieldsimilarly ratesof in communionover the remainder the eighteenth century of participation that (Currieet al.2Were these statistics. In his remarkable reconstruction religious of in participation the British communities Oldham Saddleworth.PeterLaslett(1965) reported only 125 of 400 adults in a particularEnglish village took Eastercommunion late in the in smallerattendances" other eighteenthcenturyand went on to note "much Laslettusesthesedatato demonstrate unanimity faith the villages. in British. 1994. In contrast. 1992)is compatible with religious variation: increases wellas with as decreases religiousness. 1977). 259 SECULARIZATION. and then stabilized. in indeedits usualprediction forrelatively is stablelevels of religiouscommitmentin societies.P.urbanneighborhoods whichhad longbeennotablefortheirverylow ratesof attendance (G. This turnoutamountedto far Ascension.they wouldbe cited routinelyas proofof massive twentieth-century secularization.the title of his book is The worldwe havelost.thanwas comprehension 2 He alsowrote were Christian all (p.the same percentagebelonged in 1990 (Stark and lannaccone1995).Starkand lannaccone1993. only 12 percentof the Britishpopulation substantially This rose to 17 percentin 1850 belongedto a specificreligious congregation.Whitsun. will be noted.

by baptizing canonizingthem as nationalsaints (Vauchez1997). was an established.But. secularization Slovenia. That is.state church that sought to extend itself. by the middle immensemassmovement sweeping hadbeen converted(Stark of of the centurya majority the population probably 1996a).What happenedthen?The failureof the earlychurchto Christianize is and of the outerreaches the empire the restof Europe entirelyin keepingwith the marketmodel of religiousness (Stark 1985. alization" (Thomas 1971: 173). subsidized. over Romewas a masssocial that triumphed Stark 1998b).andGreatBritaindid he observe downwardtrends that could possibly be claimed as support for while the have been reversed." THE FAILURETO CHRISTIANIZE of the This raisesa most significant Why wasn't Christianization question: of the fourthcenturyChristianitywas an At accomplished? the start Europe and over the RomanEmpire. that historianshave long expressed dismayat "unlost for clingingto the mythof Europe's piety. mindedsociologists" historically that "notenoughjusticehas been done to the volumeof apathy. .but that made that the state churches masses (Duffy1987. For. the Britishtrendmayalready declines in Slovenia and East Germany began with the imposition of Communist regimes. maybe the secularizationtheorists simply were in As Laurence lannaccone(1996) has premature theirpredictions? mentioned. becausethere in never was any Christianization the first place. Participation may of modernization.at best. The Christianity that subseThe Christianity environment. not through but the kings(Davies1996:275) andthen missionizing population.260 OF SOCIOLOGY RELIGION the case200 years ago.but not because religiousness. been able to use surveydata to reconstructchurchattendancerates for 18 nations (most of them European) beginningin 1920. ChristianEuropenever existed. In 15 of the 18 nations Iannaccone could detect no trends even vaguely consistent with the thesis:only in EastGermany.then.Greeley1995). it isn'tmerely . what about very recent times. movementin a highly competitive quently left most of Europeonly nominallyconverted. the Christianity of that prevailedin Europewas an elaboratepatchwork state churchesthat for officialrequirements settledfor the allegianceof the elite and for imposing the little sustainedeffortto Christianize peasant conformity.as AndrewGreeley(1995: 63) put it so of crisply. and secularization. complaining and agnosticismthat existed long beforethe onset of industriheterodoxy. thereforethe secularization thesis is irrelevant. The evidence is clear that claims about a majordecline in religious in are of participation Europe basedin parton veryexaggerated perceptions past be low todayin manynations. .Starkand lannaccone 1994.Thus."Therecould be no de-Christianization Europe. Little wonder.

can to The "conversion" Scandinaviais instructive.anddistorting moral vision. Contrary receivedwisdom. nobility sovereignty This left the taskof missionizing masses a "kept" the to whosewelfare was clergy almostentirelyindependent massassentor support.in 1016 (Sawyer1982.These and otherrepressive measures aroused sufficient opposition to defeathim in the Battleof Svolder(aboutthe year 1000) duringwhich he died. Englishof an Christian seizedthe throneof Norwayin 995 whereupon educated. who had been baptizedin France. Christian.almostimmediately upon its having becomethe officialstate church to of (Johnson1976).Olaf Haraldsson.Mostof the evils associated with European sincethe middle Christianity of the fourthcentury be traced establishment.as a successionof kingsaccepted.OlafTryggvason. widespread and wasdriven into exile.mosthistorians not equatethis with the Christianization the Danishpeople. to culminatingin the ascensionof the devout Knutthe Great.he wasdefeated killed at the Battleof Stikklestad 1030.The 'Christianization" a of for often involvedlittle morethanthe baptism the Norsekingdom. step draining vigor. as well as powerstruggles enforcedconbecameprominent features the Christianmovementin the fourth of formity.Rather. This now is regarded as the "official" date of the Christianization Denmark. At a meetingof the Althing in 1000 the Icelanders yieldedto the law "that all people should become Norwegian pressureby adopting Christianand those who here in the land were yet unbaptized should be But.which seems to have consistedprimarily the of of of Olaf'sofficial of intolerance 1982.rejected. Christianization.P. Fifteenyearslater. of and legal recognitionof the ecclesiastical of the church. 261 SECULARIZATION. and of Scandinavia northern lack and to Europe currently the motivation energy fill their churches. Olaf and is credited with the Despite this.corruption sloth. and he too used fire and swordin an effort to compel conqueredNorway. When he attemptedto returnleadinga new army raisedin Kiev. he too provoked And hatredleadingto rebellion. to and attempted covertthe country force. Br0ndsted1965). writinginsteadthat this followed of 1965: 310) and noting that the conversions the of (Br0ndsted only "gradually" monarchs were"[n]ever result popular the of demand" 1982:139).the conversion Constantine did not cause the triumphof Christianity. and and Indeed. of do However.R.Jones1968.they have alwaysbeenlikethis.or were indifferent Christianity." . he convert. and in he soon was canonized as St. Christianization Norway. Denmarkwas the first of "Christian" nation in the north. century.Jones1968). reimposition policies (Sawyer The conversionof Icelandfollowed a somewhatsimilarpatternas both Olafssuccessively extendedtheir effortsat forcedconversionupon Norwegian their colony. of witha predictable of lack results. example. the law read on: "peoplemight sacrificeto the old gods in baptized.Roesdahl1980. (Sawyer Next camethe "Christianization"Norway.it was the first and most its its significant in slowingits progress.killingsomewho resisted burning by theirestates.I.

(8). (4)."Indeed.Adam of Bremen. In reality. when Christianitytook over old [pagan] a and themto live under newguise. andSwitzerland . "deep to changes enoughto survive Europe generate in the religiousaffiliationof their political leadersduringthe Reformation. wroteat length of ceremonies(includinghumansacrifices) conductedin the luxurious the (Sweden)during eleventhcentury (Jones pagantempleof Uppsala it seemsto have been typicalfor the Norse to 1968. The Swedishcourtremained into the twelfthcentury. Indeed. and their Christianization aspects in neverresulted morethanthe mostminimal in participation the church.It officially paganuntilthe thirteenth(Sawyer seemsrevealingas to the lackof effortto Christianize generalpopulation the that no missionarieswere even sent to the Lappsuntil the middle of the sixteenth century (Baldwin 1900). Germany(9).and Finland pagan remained 1982. Finland of (7). Sweden(12). Portugal Spain(4).Thus. Great Britain(9). Although paganismsubsequently outlawed.Br0ndsted 1965). actuallybeganto wanein Scandinavia paganism there is reasonto supposeit neverdid entirelydisappear (Sawyerand Sawyer to 1993). Br0ndsted suggests that the conversion of Scandinaviaoccurred"only . Barrett 1982. Shepherd 1980. Turningto the 1990-1991WorldValues As basedon the rateof churchattendance. of paganismstill lingeramong Icelanders. (6). Consequently. Italy (4). great as (Davies 1996). Netherlands Norway(11).Br0ndsted 1965). emerged a strange Christianity eventually popular some of them only and deal in the way of pagantraditions celebrations.as in the caseof Iceland.beganwith points the 16 nations of western Europe. . lines. Iceland(11). Christianization) (9).he believedin Christ. France (11).the superstitions useages allowed a that was including amalgam. Roesdahl1980. . This variable is basedon the assumptionthat the more recent the the Christianization.262 SOCIOLOGY RELIGION OF was private" (Byock 1988:142). it was writtenin the IcelandicLandndmabok the Lean'vas verymixedin his faith.Jones 1968. AndrewGreeley(1996: thinly Christianized was commitment neverdeepenoughin northern 66) has pointedout. duration Christianization highlycorrelated 3 (Century supposed Austria Belgium Denmark (13). with is extremely of the be predicted.but invoked Helgi and Thor in mattersof seafaring dire necesssity" Br0ndsted1965: 306).with centuriessince their supposed (20 valuesrangingfrom 16 for Italydown to 7 for Finland(Davies 1996. Christandvarious Christian "convert" including saints(especially Olaf) into by that the paganpantheon. (in Br0ndsted (1965: 307) notedthat "achangeof godsat the summitof Johannes society might occur easily enough. Br0ndsted 1965). (8). The famousChristianmissionary Scandinavia. Christian nor muchmassattendance.but lowerdown on the scale there was a natural resistance. would I createda variable Surveys. I calculatedthe numberof Christianization minusthe century).3For each. Ireland(5)." and Thus. moresuperficial." denominational backandforthacross sometimes I areeasilydemonstrated Bothof Greeley's quantitatively. Sawyer 1982. it is not clear when popular and.

Recently. a benchmark past piety againstwhich to demonstrate secularization of the of the sameobservation withequalforcetoday. samemustbe saidof the Greco-Roman (MacMullen era 1981. keeping proportion did not take their religiousbeliefs very seriously. That is. significant probably religious As Franklin Baumer to (1960: 99) put it.72). "Contrary popular there supposition wasplentyof scepticismin the MiddleAges.even if theseweresomewhat vague and includedas much magic and animismas Christianity..Stark1996a).most people in this era still mustbe as regarded religiousbecausethey believed.rejected beliefs. a substantial Britishresearchliterature what GraceDavie (1990a.I agree. this (.Put anotherway. peoplestrongly beliefs. and the Thereis Mycolleagues I arehardly firstto notice this phenomenon.Stark1998a).I. applies whileratesof religious are than in the United participation farlowerin Europe are are States. 263 SECULARIZATION.these werereligious in mind that a substantial of medievalpopulations 1992).differences smallwhencomparisons basedon subjective measures of faith(StarkandIannaccone 1994." fromthe prevalence blasphemous of on the Judging graffiti the wallsof Pompeii. In similarfashion.P.even he admitted the GoldenAge of Faithneverexisted. I interpret the of a demand organized for prevalence religiousbeliefsas representing potential activation religionin these societies. in termsof organized participation. up: . variableis veryhighlycorrelated the duration Christianization.the most contemporary measureof participationin the Reformation (since some of these plausible modern nations include many areas that were independentstates in the sixteenthcentury)is the percentCatholic. and Nevertheless.R. modern-day Europe.a potentialin the sensethat it awaited as rather than restoring by suchaggressive suppliers the Waldensians.Bruce(1997: 674) proposesthat the medievalchurchwas not even clear fromthe very especiallyconcernedto bringthe people to massas 'Svas architecture churches forms service. 648) summed literature. as predicted. number." a recentadditionto this In MichaelWinterandChristopher Short(1993:635. and someof it wasquiteradical.which I took fromthe 1996Catholic Almanac. Bruce now claims that the Golden Age of medieval was that embraced religiousness subjective. Duffy throughbelief.and thus societies(cf. that.89) with Again. Indeed. secularization thesis. Brucenow claimsthat even if the medievalmassesseldomwent to church." rather of and of thangivingupon the But. However. Certainlymost people in medieval timesseemto have held religious beliefs. if not throughpractice. supernatural Christianor otherwise. on 1994) refersto as "believingwithoutbelonging.Nor must we forgetthat a aboutthe sameas today.I too assumethat belief was widespread. ratesof churchattendance(. 1990b. of RELIGIOUSNESS SUBJECTIVE Steve Bruceof the Universityof Aberdeenhas long been one of the most die-hardproponents the secularization of thesis.

For regardthemselves as religiousis higher .thattrueCommunism do the claims. being RELIGIONAND SCIENCE showupamongscientists!In it is If secularization to showupanywhere must I examinedevidence that the conflict an earlierstudy. Tomasson1980).popular and Gissurarson and 1997). are of occur in church. proportion morerevealing the more scientific their field." general has a and surprisingly.4 sometimes. therefore.. this is not what usually society.The claimthat Icelandis extremely the basisof its emptychurches about2 percentattendweekly. it is true.high ratesof baptism.nonetheless: been muchcited by otherEuropean But remains high in the nationsmostoftencitedas examples religiousness subjective of secularization. high levels that nearlyall of in-the-homereligionin Icelandtoday. one of foursaidthey did so "often." servesto remindus that the secularization 10 believe in reincarnation theory are never has been limited to Christianity. my colleaguesand between religion and science is largelyfictional and that scientists are not public. even among in also that spiritualism is extremely widespread Iceland. only 2. religion placeswhereit is claimedthat peoplehave outgrown detail. perhaps for low level of secularization" and perhaps that reasontheir workhas not socialscientists. to one forgood. 82 to God outsideof religiousservices?" percentsaid they often do you pray and Moreover.all beliefs in the supernatural and even a massiveshift frombelief in Jesusto the worshipof the pertinent It goddessKaliwouldnot constitutesecularization.264 SOCIOLOGY RELIGION OF 'What is clear is that most surveysof religiousbelief in northernEurope demonstrate continuinghigh levels of belief in God and some of the more tenetsof the Christian low faithbut rather levelsof churchattendance.Even beingas likelyto attendchurchas is the general notablyirreligious.It seemsuseful examine casein greater Because Iceland has been proposedas the first fully (or nearly fully) test nation on earth (cf." of the populationof Icelandsay they are "convinced Surely percent that 4 in is meantby a "secularized Moreover. and 40 percentbelieve in reincarnation. the 1990 World Values Surveysreportthat 81 percentof Icelanders express confidencethat there is life afterdeath. therefore. typical" newspaper that It the deceasedratherthan by a newswriter." prayed atheists. who the is the fact that amongAmerican academics. They addthat theirresearch "revealed relatively. 88 percentsay they believe humans And when asked'How have a soul.claimsthat Icelandis the firstsecularized was leftists. In light of intellectuals academics (Swatos leading as nationseemas fatuous these data.Nevertheless.and that "affirmations personalimmortality weddings friendof which usuallyare writtenby a close in obituaries. is hardlysurprising. it seemsan appropriate secularized on is secularized takenas self-evident case. WilliamSwatos(1984) reported on the basisof extensivefieldwork. is worthnoting.once so popular amongwestern Mao's achievedin Chinaunder leadership.

therehas been no decline in a veryliteral 4 In a 1968sample Protestant of in of of clergy California.I.3 percentchoseoptiontwo. and his claiming that thesedatademonstrated rejection "fundamental a of dogmas a rejection destinedto extendparallel with the diffusion knowledge" of apparently (1916: 280). 3.Thus. to believers werenot in the majority went on to express faithin the future. Mack1996)area farmoreprolific of source popular works atheism." psychological of prayer.over an 82-yearperiod. In 1996Edward Larson Larry and Witham(1997) replicated Leuba's J. .notone whohears answers and prayers. Given that the majority thesesameclergydoubted divinityof of the one that Jesus.8 percent whodidso optionone. I believein a God to whomone mayprayin the expectation receiving answer.They foundthat nowadays different fromthe 41. this Leuba's standard belief in God is so stringentit wouldexcludea substantial for of "mainline" and was on He portion clergy. that obviously intentional his part.it also is worthnote that and Of mostof those.R." thereby selectedthe secondoption(manyof whom. 45 percent pastors the UnitedChurch of only Christ couldagree I knowGod really existsandI haveno doubts aboutit"(Stark al.7 percenttook the indefinite alternative. to To Leuba found that 41.So he gave greatemphasis the fact that.. doubt believed in a somewhatless active deity).5percenttookoption three. than "answer. I do not believe in God as defined above. more than twice as likely to identify themselves as "a religiousperson"as are and (Stark et al. Men questionnaires a random sample persons Eachwasaskedto select one of the followingstatements belief in "concerning God"(all italicsin the original): 1. of Recently.like Dawkins Sagan.quite amazingtime seriesdata on the beliefsof scientistswere publishedin Nature. aren'tsome anthropologists psychologists scientistsmilitant atheists who write books to discreditreligion.But. as Another41.P.3 percentof eminentscientistsselected exactly. study 39. as measured.5 takinga positionmanywouldregard "fundamentalist.includingmathematicians. 1971). 1998). But. sinceclergy werefreeto defineGod as theywished.forexample? course. effect 2. his dismay. werenot whatLeuba expected had Clearly. whichis not significantly in 1914.This time 45.aremarginal the scientificcommunity and to for lackof significant scientificwork. and 16.Aridpossibly even moreimportant the is fact that theologians(cf.Of Methodist et 52 Notice thatthis itemis muchlessstringent clergy.8 percentof his sampleof prominentscientistsselected option one.4 wanted showthat menof sciencewereirreligious. percent thanthe one usedbyLeuba agreed.physicaland naturalscientists. 1996. SECULARIZATION. of an By I mean more thesubjective.. Cupitt 1997) and professors religious of studies(cf.In 1914 the AmericanpsychologistJamesLuebasent to of listedin American of Science.Richard Dawkins CarlSagan. 265 are example.as Leuba no percent acknowledged. I have no definite belief regarding question. and 14.these results and hoped. mustsuppose manyof themasserted theirbeliefsin a rather remoteandvagueconception of God.

. bodymaybe displayed opposition. . indeed! Secularization.majorreligiousrevivalsare underway era of the post-Communist in the old Sovietbloc. [S]ecular under to will be vulnerable religious glass. .in perhaps disappear is an articleof faithformanydogmatic socialscientists. duringthese early By any measure..the the Christian churches whatever traditional expressions religious [or fallingoff of traditional the No of of a society]. history therebeensucha concerted of itselfas pushing but all traceof religion. Lenin's they to that butno one supposes he has ascended sit on the righthand. statescannotrootout religion. not more prevalentthan in western the or. In Russia. who saidthey were"convinced Hungarians in of said 53 percent respondents theywerenot religious 1991. . as in churches America. percentof fell atheists" from14 to 4. religious changein moder timeshappens only two ways.. mywill-power not go so faras to preventa bit of permanent in at hence I quotea paperI initially presented a conference 1979: crowing.not expectedto endure. continuesto rise. .andthe appearance new cults.which evokes deep Westernadmiration. to the extent that they try to root it out. "Never a out has effortto stamp not merely religion.a process form. the traditionalreligionswith enough vitality to inspirelarge-scale political was explicitly Catholic uprisingin Poland.This seemsto havetaken days most social scientistsentirelyby surprise have all recentsigns of religious (as vitality).In only five years this fell to 37 percent.in the United States.or even the left hand. one credited revolt . as unpredicted the riseof the fundamentalist It wouldbe needlessly vindictivefor me to quotevarioussocialscientistswho nations were educatorsin "socialist" once were certain that "enlightened" and launchinga new era of children"from the grip of superstition "freeing does But. rose In for forms religiousness.Meanwhile... AtheisticCommunism thought forwardthe inevitable process of secularizationin which religion would milder fromthe faceof the earth.According to of foresaw recentrevivals traditional the No one. As MaryDouglaspointed out as long ago as 1982: forms. of monthlychurchattendance from16 percentin 1981to 25 percentin 1991. Hungary. of not the leastof which wasto revealthe abjectfailureof severalgenerations dedicatedeffortsto indoctrinateatheism in easternEuropeand the former beforein human Soviet Union. Europe indeed. EASTERNREVIVALS The collapseof Soviet Communism manyremarkable had consequences.and ." And the results?Atheists are few.. Moreover. which. secularity.of . example.266 OF SOCIOLOGY RELIGION beliefin Godamongscientists. however.whilethe percentattendingless the than once a yearfell from62 percentto 44 percent. As AndrewGreeley(1994:253) put it.as do other churchattendance to westernEurope..In mostof thesecountries majority to hadrecovered levelscomparable andby 1990churchattendance already pray. religious in an extensiveliterature.

the prospective becoming elites.to fuelthe deprivation repressive In and faithmorecostly.experienced irreligion.Tamney(1992) proceeded.This is confirmed dataon Turkish by actual time series. making is as church(Stark1981:175).R.In extraordinary let us shift to religioustrends contradiction the to of secularization doctrine. widespread amongthe university in Ankara.thereseemsto be a profound compatibilitythe Islamic faithandmodernization several studies fromquitedifferent of parts the world that commitment increases modernization! with suggest Muslim In a studyof Muslimsin Java. And.and of from"thenew middle supporters the movementare drawnoverwhelmingly class" students based an on (Ahmad1991).and to fast in accordwith orthodoxIslamicpractice than wereMuslims with little education and/orlow statusoccupations.I. beginningin the the of decades officialstatesecularity semi-official of and 1920s.and in 1991 the overwhelming majority studentsheld these views. thesepolicieshave wanedin recenttimes(forreasons although entirelyclearin the data).P. the other hand. A study of the leading Muslim"fundamentalist" movement in Pakistan foundthat the leaders highlyeducated(all havingadvanced are degrees).in so doing. faithin "theessential elements Islamic of beliefsis studentsi. by most measures.e.Moreover. levelsof individual statesseemto increase and." Thesestudents the future are leaders the of politicalandintellectual nation. Heavenand a Hell. of Marx."while in 1991 three-fourths held this view.these Islamicdata are fragmentary. the 'resilience" religion. 267 SECULARIZATION. in 1978.That is. 36 percent of studentsexpressed firm belief that "thereis a Thus. Turkeyis. Perhaps religion neverso robust whenit is an underground And so it was. ISLAM nations. includingits futurescientistsand engineers. religious impulse. Since 1978 there has been a remarkable increasein the of at proportion students the Universityof Ankarawho hold orthodoxIslamic of beliefs.to give alms. no On informedobservereven needs data such as these to detect the thunderous . Tamney also recognized his findingsimpliedthat Muslim that wouldincrease as practice In a subsequent modernization has analyzed work. 1980) found that religious commitmentwas positively correlatedwith education and with occupational prestige.JosephTamney (1979. Moreover. most modernized Islamicnationsand. The evidenceexamined thusfarhas beenlimitedto Christian Now in Islam.. Of course. As Kayhan Mutlu(1996:355) explained. how it has been able to adjustto challengesof of modernity. people who had attendedcollege and/orheld weresubstantially morelikelyto praythe required five high statusoccupations timesa day.theyalsomakeit morenecessary valuable. damsalongthe Volgado not light up the meaning the universe.

Consequently.successful. More specifically.and highly magical.Shinto deity. had some in forfailingto see secularization the declinein belief thesis until I difficultyin seeinghow someof this relatedto the secularization camefrompeoplewho somehowbelievedthat this that these remarks realized . that's not what extinction within Japan's high-tech morefolk templesthan happened. in accord withthe market theory entirely WHAT ABOUT CHANGE? someof whomfoundit historians.268 OF SOCIOLOGY RELIGION Islamand to realizethat it is in direct proportion to vitality of contemporary modernization. "arefugee following god"imported to and Ragvald1993). Japan. Indeed. Hong Kong. RecentlyI spoketo a groupof Christian that is not faralong. such as in Taiwan. offices. for suitable modern That is.havingthe largest Sin.it was assumedthat the traditional.uneducatedpeasants. That Shinto was strengthenedby being disestablished of religion.Tan 1994. Chinesefolk religion"continues the (Lang in Shinto is veryvigorous thrive" 1994:274). anotherchidedme I in witchcraft. folk as adaptable to cometo be seen as especially does not linger among elderly.or land and its factoriesbe built afterexorcismceremonies purifyand calm the that childrenare dedicatedthere"(Nelson 1992: 77). In Malaysia. with the Templeof Wong Tai fromChina in 1915." life.there are proportionately there werea centuryago.especiallyin Japanand in the rapidly westernizing Chinese enclaves. Japan"it is commonplace that new carsbe blessedat a [Shinto]shrine. One mentioned verydifficultto acceptthat secularization in in rose religiousness precipitously Germany the latterhalf of the nineteenth in to fall substantially the twentieth.Lang amongthe young.Nelson 1992). JohnNelson (1992: 77) up for wouldseema highly likelycandidate noted that "Shintoreligious practices consumersociety. all observers and Following expectedrapid profound religious changesin Asian religions. In all fourcontexts an "oldfashioned. and a larger of proportion the population(about70 these templesthan ever before(Chen 1995). in and Ragvold1993. Meanwhile."But.Anotherwent on at length centuryonly and aboutdoctrinal changesoverthe pastseveralcenturies.backwhen the Emperor is the state religion.that new residences.In Taiwantoday. role seemto playa moreprominent in Japan rituals todaythan in the pre-World wasthoughtto be divine and Shinto was War II days."folk" religionsfound in these settingswouldrapidly give way to modernity(Chen 1995. percent)frequent traditional Chinesefolk religionalso flourishes. In Hong Kong. ASIAN "FOLK'RELIGIONS WorldWarII.but flourishes religion educatedurbanites (Chen 1995.Tan 1994). and Malaysia.Summing the scholarly consensus. (Nelson (Tan faith has provedso traditional 1992).

.doctrineschange . 269 SECULARIZATION. CONCLUSION Letme emphasize no one canprove one dayreligion not wither that that will the day will come when religionhas been relegated memory to away. from thatviewthat.Aquinaswasnot Augustine.I.Therefore.Douglas with life in simple notes.and both wouldfindheresyin the workof AveryDulles. askedfromwhence came the notion of the Age of Faith..Butchangedoesnot equatewith decline! If next yeareveryone Canada in becamea piousHinduthis couldhave butsecularization wouldnot be amongthem.I offer final remarksby three scholars: anthropologist.Indeed.once and for all. what manyinterpretations.in . a medieval an then distinguished and historian.Of course. Nordoes[anthropology] thatmodem in by teach timesshowa declinefromancientstandards piety." simply It religious sociology is not true. us note at once that there is no good evidence that a high level of spirituality generallybeen had reached the massof mankind pasttimes. Of and even religion changes.Of course.in OldTestament times: Uncritical for nostalgia pastagesof faithbeingout of placein religious let studies.there is more religiousparticipation beliefin the supernatural sometimesandplacesthan in others.P.fromwhichthe Messiah knowledge cameto rescue It follows it. that recognizing it wasthe productof wishful thinking. she recognizes that unbeliefis not uncommonin pre-literate societiesor. and MaryDouglas(1982: 29) has argued forcefully persuasively againstthe secularization doctrineas having "beenconstructed flatterprejudged to ideas" whichwill needto be discarded "when modernizes. tell us when and rise why various aspectsof religiousness andfall.In that regard. is neededis a bodyof theoryto explainreligious to variation. secularization the theoryis as uselessas a hotel elevatorthat only goesdown. He concluded: The scientific was to enlightenment tempted conceivefaithnot as a virtue.this will not have been causedby modernization. however. article proposesthat there is no such thing as religiouschange! course.R. having demonstrated that the original sources nearlyunanimous theiradmission widespread are in of in irreligiousness medievaltimes. With Clifford Geertz(1966). If andthe demiseof faithwill bearno resemblance the process to postulated the by secularization doctrine. let us declarean end to socialscientificfaith in the theoryof secularization. as an original but of sin. As a requiem. finally by a sociologist. of AlexanderMurray(1972: 106). so. or arestable(Stark1998b).that modernlife contrasts sharply societies when it comes to the prevalenceof religiousbelief. Perhaps and museums.. indeed.justas at greater have religious organizations moresecular powerin sometimesandplacesthan in others.

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