Forget What You’ve Heard: The World Is More Religious Than Ever


Rodney Stark’s ‘The Triumph of Faith’ Strikes a Blow to Secularization Thesis

Everybody knows the world is becoming more secular, right? Wrong.

A new book by Dr. Rodney Stark, titled The Triumph of Faith, subtitled “Why the World Is More Religious Than Ever,” is causing quite a stir. Stark is the co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University where he also serves as Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences.

Stark takes on no less a task than debunking the “secularization thesis,” supporters of which have asserted vigorously for at least half a century that religious belief and devotion are the domain of the ignorant and the poor. Their thesis asserts that as education, technology, and the resulting increased affluence advance, religious devotion and belief inevitably weaken, wither, and decline.

Dr. Stark’s Triumph of Faith pushes back hard against this thesis (which the secular left has readily accepted as proven fact, not theory) with a treasure trove of relentless facts that indicate exactly the opposite of the assumptions contained in the secularization thesis. Stark documents that in much of the present-day world, more-educated people are more devout and religious than their less well-educated fellow citizens. This is demonstrably true here in the United States where the college-educated are more likely to attend worship services on a regular basis than their high school graduate counterparts.

Of course, it is often argued that America is an exception to the prevailing paradigm that more-educated and industrialized equals a less religious society. Occasionally, America has been cited as the proverbial exception that proves the rule of the secularization thesis.

In fact, Stark points out what fellow scholars like Philip Jenkins (Stark’s fellow co-director of the Institute of Social Sciences) has been demonstrating and publicizing for years (The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity, has been translated into several languages, including Chinese, German, and Korean), that religion is waxing rather than waning around the world.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Richard Land