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The rise of the seculars

April 8, 2010

Herbert J. Gans in The Immanent Frame:

A half-century ago, I spent several years doing fieldwork in Levittown (now Willingboro), New Jersey, then a brand new suburban community of young middle and working class families, and was surprised by the low degree of popular interest in religion. Over the years since then, there has been periodic evidence of the further waning of that interest across American society. I welcome the data and analysis being supplied by contributors to The Immanent Frame and want to add my observations, but as hypotheses for additional empirical research on the topic.

Kosmin and Keysar and others are already analyzing who has given up worship, belief, and other modes of religiosity. I am more interested in what is happening as a result to the societal and social functions of religion. Thus, I would hypothesize that an increasing number of people are finding religion irrelevant in and to their everyday lives, and to the social, cultural, and other roles they play in society. They are not only “religious nones,” but they are no longer thinking about religious matters. [More]

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