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The NonreligiousUnderstanding Secular People and Societies$
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Phil Zuckerman, Luke W. Galen, and Frank L. Pasquale

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199924950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199924950.001.0001

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Secularity around the World

Secularity around the World

(p.30) 2 Secularity around the World
The Nonreligious

Phil Zuckerman

Luke W. Galen

Frank L. Pasquale

Oxford University Press

The diversity of secular worldviews, lifestyles, and institutions becomes quite apparent as we look around the world. The distinction between religious and secular is a product of Western monotheistic, specifically Christian, thinking. It has been more sharply defined and actively applied in European and anglophone contexts than elsewhere. The very meaning and applicability of “religious” or “secular” vary considerably across cultures. This presents challenges to gathering and interpreting data on such constructs around the globe. Nonetheless, as long as we remain cognizant of these differences, it is possible to glean insights into the estimated 400 million nonreligious or nontheistic people in the world. The distribution and diverse character of secular individuals and institutions among major cultural regions are reviewed.

Keywords:   cultural regions, secular diversity, religion, secularity, nonreligious, nontheistic, global distribution

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