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SecularizationIn Defence of an Unfashionable Theory$
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Steve Bruce

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199654123.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 September 2021

Unexceptional America

Unexceptional America

(p.157) 8 Unexceptional America

Steve Bruce

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines whether American exceptionalism can be explained by principles consistent with the secularisation paradigm of the decline of religion in the modern world. It first assesses the patterns of church adherence in the United States and changes in the nature of U.S. religion, along with Protestant fundamentalism and the role played by religion in politics. It then presents evidence that Christianity in the United States has been losing power, prestige, and popularity and that it has become increasingly secular. It also considers the major trend of religion becoming marginal to the operation of the social system in the face of the Christian Right's influence on public life. Finally, it discusses differences in religiosity between Europe and the United States and argues that those differences can largely be explained in ways that are consistent with the secularisation paradigm.

Keywords:   religion, American exceptionalism, secularisation, United States, fundamentalism, politics, Christianity, Christian Right, religiosity, Europe

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