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Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics)

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Seminal nineteenth-century thinkers predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance with the emergence of industrial society. The belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century. The traditional secularization thesis needs updating, however, religion has not disappeared and is unlikely to ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published October 17th 2011 by Cambridge University Press (first published September 20th 2004)
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Dec 28, 2010 Shinynickel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Off this review:

And in consequence they are not marginal, but involved in an ongoing discussion. And one of the anomalies in this discussion is America. And here we are sitting in your apartment in New York. So shall we talk about America?

Yes, both of the next books on my list have something particular to say about America. My fourth book is by two social scientists called Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart. It’s called "Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide". It was published in 2
A decent study with an interesting hypothesis, but like others, a bunch of failings. Notably, it relies on the World Values Survey for a lot of its data and a lot the questions they sample from don't appear to translate well throughout cultures or religions, which would seem to rob the data of a lot of its value. Additionally, some of the graphs are REALLY poorly prepared - data fit to lines in unconvincing ways, data that one would not expect to be linear (and that doesn't look linear) fit to l ...more
This reads a lot like Inglehart's book on modernization; which is not surprising given that it too is drawing on data from the World Values Survey. Here the main points deal with how societies become more secular as existential threats such as hunger and disease are removed; ergo, as societies become more economically prosperous and democratic, religiosity will wane (but not disappear!). Like Modernization, this book is also convincing, but tedious in its presentation of evidence.
Stephen Cranney
Their main thesis seems reasonable enough (that social variations in religiosity are largely explained by the personal and country-level security situation). But it seems like they were trying to find an excuse to weave together disparate findings into one thread in order to justify presenting a series of disjointed findings.
It was alright in understanding things from a christian fundamentalists perspective, but still it wasn't an easy read.
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