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Religion's Sudden Decline – What's Causing it, and What Comes Next? - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Religion's Sudden Decline: What's Causing it, and What Comes Next?

Ronald F. Inglehart


Secularization has accelerated. From 1981 to 2007, most countries became more religious, but from 2007 to 2020, the overwhelming majority became less religious. For centuries, all major religions encouraged norms that limit women to producing as many children as possible and discourage any sexual behavior not linked with reproduction. These norms were needed when facing high infant mortality and low life expectancy but require suppressing strong drives and are rapidly eroding. These norms are so strongly linked with religion that abandoning them undermines religiosity. Religion became pervasiv ... More

Keywords: secularization, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, infant mortality, religiosity, pro-fertility norms, individual-choice norms

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780197547045
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197547045.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ronald F. Inglehart, author
Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Michigan