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For well over a century since the inception of the social-scientific study of religion, there was a broad consensus that the importance of religion was waning in the modernizing world. The cause for this putative decline was traced to various developments, including the increased division of labor in society, capitalism, and the nature of Protestant Christianity itself. At some point during the middle of the 20th century, these diverse views solidified into what has since become known as the secularization thesis. Never a unified theory in the strict sense of the word, secularization nevertheless was for several decades the main prism through which the role of religion in the modern world was examined and explained.

But the secularization thesis also attracted criticism from early on. ...

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