Do Social Crises Cause Religious Revivals? What British Church Adherence Rates Show

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
Steve Bruce University of Aberdeen,

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David Voas University College, London,

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A 2014 sociology of religion conference invitation asserted that it is ‘A long-standing assumption in the sociology of religion … that there is a correlation between religious resurgence and intense moments of political, economic and socio-cultural crisis.’ We test this proposition against various post-1900 British or uk church adherence data and find no evidence to support the claim. On the contrary, the trajectories of decline are remarkably smooth. We suggest that such smoothness better supports the sociological view of secularization as a long-run process with amorphous and deep causes than it supports the claim that religious change is a response to specific events.

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