Secularization as a notion indicating the decline of religion has a long tradition as a subject of study, with its earliest expressions to be found in 18th-century philosophy. In recent years, secularization has also been the subject of intense scholarly debate. There is debate around the term itself (How do we define secularization?) as well as around the theory—or thesis, depending on one's point of view—of secularization (Is it really happening and, if so, universally?). Both areas of scholarship flourish today, and the debates continue unresolved. An examination of the latter is instructive as regards the trajectory/trajectories of secularization and of the sociological study thereof.

Defining Secularization

The etymology of the term is worth considering. Secularization derives from the word saeculum, used in Latin Christendom to indicate ...

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