Late Secularization and Religion as Alien

Steve Bruce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


The argument that modernization and secularization are linked in some non-accidental and non-tautological manner is sometimes rebutted with the assertion that the statistical evidence of decline in indices of interest in religion in the UK and elsewhere in the modern world is a mere trend that may be changed by a revival of interest in religion. This essay considers the obstacles to such a revival. It makes the case that ‘late secularization’ differs in three important ways from ‘early secularization’. The shared stock of religious knowledge is small, the public reputation of religion is poor, and religion is carried primarily by populations that are unusual in being drawn either from a narrow demographic or from immigrant peoples. Given the role of affective social bonds in religious conversion, the alien nature of the carriers of religion makes religious revival extremely unlikely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalOpen Theology
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Conversion
  • Revival
  • Secularization


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