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The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

Religious Responses to Modes of Secularism

David Martin (1929–2019), Member of the British Academy, Professor Emeritus, Department of Religious Studies, University of Lancaster; Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics (London)
pp. 152–175
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.32.53369
In this article, secularism is considered as one of the primary ideological components in the development of the theory of secularization, and as the foundation of various societal changes that have led to the transformation of the role of religion within society. This article is one of the chapters in the collected volume entitled “The Future of Christianity: Reflections on Violence and Democracy, Religion and Secularization” (Ashgate, 2011), which aims to make sense of Christianity’s future in the world. The author poses a number of questions which invite us to think about the real relationship between religion and secularism in the modern world, and proposes various approaches which place the two in constructive – rather than confrontational – relationship. Professor Martin also attempts to clearly delineate the foundation of the secular worldview, as well as to describe various approaches for understanding the appearance of secularism within modern society. He draws a distinction between secularization, which he understands as a curtailing of the influence of official church rules upon the laws of society, and the ability of church institutions to make their contribution to actual and ongoing discussion concerning the life of society. In light of this distinction, it would seem that the particular influence of the church on society is growing, while its influence in people’s personal lives is waning. The deline of religion is, in a complex fashion, related to the decline of various earlier forms of war secularism and, in addition though to a lesser degree, in people’s waning interest in long-term participation in any sort of organization, including political and grass-roots religious organizations.
Keywords: Secularism, Secularization, Religious Responses, the Enlightenment Project, French and American Enlightenment, fundamentalism, religion, culture.

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