Some of the most important global issues of today's world, such as Islamic terrorism, the threat of a potentially nuclear Iran, and the conflict between Hindus and Muslims in India, involve an interplay between politics and religion that one cannot afford to ignore. Politics have been a central aspect of most religions in the past and, despite predictions to the contrary, continue to be so today. The precise form of this interplay varies across states as well as across religious traditions.

Secularization Theory

Until the 1980s, a widespread assumption in the social sciences was that the influence of religion would gradually decline as societies became modernized (i.e., became industrialized, acquired a capitalist economy, and democratic institutions). According to this assumption, which is often referred to as “secularization ...

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