The Secularization Myth Revisited: Secularism as Christianity in Disguise
Journal of Markets & Mortality, Vol. 18, No. 2, Fall 2015
39 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2016
Date Written: Fall 2015
For much it the twentieth century it was broadly assumed in the social sciences that religion was fading from the world. More recently, it has been recognized that traditional religion has continued to exert a much larger influence on world affairs than had been expected. This article argues that secularism was itself a powerful religion and thus predictions of a decline of religion were false to begin with, even as mainline Protestant and some other religions did suffer from declining membership and faith commitments. Moreover, secularism was not only a genuine religion but it was very much in the Christian tradition -- indeed it might best be described as a disguised Christianity. It had the same emphasis, for example, on the presence of good and evil in the world and similarly offered prophesies of the human future on earth as grounded in the workings of history. Secularism thus did not mean a turn away from religion, as was widely thought, but a change in the manner of its expression that offered new versions of older Christian messages and institutional forms in supposedly "scientific," forms, thus hoping to reach the large numbers of people who were turning against historic Christian religion.
Keywords: Secularization, Christianity, religion, economics
JEL Classification: A13, A14, B1, B24, B25, N01, P10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation