By Erin K. Wilson (auth.)
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Additional info for After Secularism: Rethinking Religion in Global Politics
Yet Voyé describes this shift as an attempt by religious institutions to maintain their relevance in a society that is moving inexorably forward towards greater secularization. While the apparent dominance of secularism may have some influence on shifts in what are seemingly the most important beliefs for religious communities, it is equally possible (and indeed acknowledged by theologians and church/religious historians (see, for example, Erickson 1998: 68–70)) that some theological/religious philosophical doctrines enjoy predominance and popularity at different times throughout the history of a religion for reasons that are both external and internal.
As Jonathan Fox has highlighted, the social sciences were founded on the rejection of religion. Scholars in this area and, by extension, in International Relations were concerned with finding ‘rational’ explanations for social phenomena to replace religious ones (Fox 2001: 56). This focus on secular rational explanations as opposed to religious ones echoes the ideological trends prevalent at the time when liberalism emerged, as well as the core assumptions of mainstream secularism within International Relations and the social sciences.
In the view of some theorists, secularization theory does not predict what will happen to religion as a result of modernity, but actually describes the current situation and provides an opportunity for explaining the challenges that face religion in the present time. Scholars promoting this use for secularization theory focus primarily on church attendance figures and the number of individuals who continue to profess personal religious beliefs. Attention also tends to be on formal, established traditional religions, particularly Christianity.