Does modernization lead to the decline of religion? This question lies at the centre of a key debate in the sociology of religion. During the past decade American scholars, using primarily American data, have dominated this debate and have made a strong case that the answer to this question is no. Recently, however, a new crop of European scholars, working with new sources of European data, have uncovered evidence that points toward an affirmitive answer.

This volume pays special attention to these trends and developments to provide the reader with a more well-rounded understanding of the many ways in which religion interacts with modernization. Respected scholars such as David Voas, Steve Bruce and Anthony Gill examine modern societies across the world in this splendid book which will interest sociologists, political scientists, historians, and theologians in equal measure.

part 1|18 pages


part 1|70 pages

Secularization Theory

chapter 2|23 pages

The Continuing secular Transition

chapter 3|14 pages

God, Gaelic, and Needlepoint

Religion As a Social Accomplishment

chapter 4|30 pages

Religion in Central and Eastern Europe

Was There a Re-Awakening Afterthe Breakdown of Communism?

part 2|67 pages

The Market Model

chapter 6|19 pages

Secularization and the State

The Role Government Policy Playsin Determining Social Religiosity

chapter 7|19 pages

Unsecular Europe

The Persistence of Religion

part 3|58 pages

The Individualization Thesis

chapter 8|12 pages

From Believing without Belonging to Vicarious Religion

Understanding the Patterns Ofreligion in Modern Europe

chapter 9|13 pages

The Cultural Paradigm

Declines in Belonging and Then Believing

chapter 10|30 pages

Religious Individualization or Secularization

An Attempt to Evaluate the Thesis of Religious Individualization in Eastern and Western Germany

part 4|48 pages

New Theories on Religion and Modernity Exemplified at the European Case

chapter 11|25 pages

Religion and Science or Religion versus Science?

About the Social Construction of the Science–Religion–Antagonism in the German Democratic Republic and Its Lasting Consequences

chapter 12|20 pages

Secularization Theory and Rational Choice

An Integration of Macro- and Micro-Theories of Secularization Using the Example of Switzerland