Western World areas with stagnant secularization rates

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The ex-atheist Alister McGrath points out that many atheists/agnostics were angry that the secularization thesis failed because religion was "supposed to" disappear.[1]

Many scholars are recognizing that the secularization thesis has failed and there is not an inevitable decline of religion with modernization (see: Atheists and the endurance of religion).

American atheism

See also: American atheism

In June 2016, American Interest reported about American atheism:

First of all, religious belief is still very powerful and widespread, and there is nothing inevitable about its decline. In fact, the proportion of people who say they believe in God actually ticked modestly upward, from 86 percent to 89 percent, since Gallup last asked the question in 2014.[2]

British atheism/nonreligion

See also: British atheism

The Guardian published an article in 2017 entitled Nearly 50% are of no religion – but has UK hit ‘peak secular’? which declared:

But, Bullivant told the Observer that the “growth of no religion may have stalled”. After consistent decline, in the past few years the proportion of nones appears to have stabilised. “Younger people tend to be more non-religious, so you’d expect it to keep going – but it hasn’t. The steady growth of non-Christian religions is a contributing factor, but I wonder if everyone who is going to give up their Anglican affiliation has done so by now? We’ve seen a vast shedding of nominal Christianity, and perhaps it’s now down to its hardcore.[3]

Conatus News reported in 2017:

Church of England worshippers increase 0.8 per cent since 2009. The number of non-religious people falls from 50.65% to 48.6%

Rise in Church of England worshippers likely due to resurgence in patriotism and pride in Christianity, a report has found

According to a new report, for every person brought up in a non-religious household who becomes a churchgoer, 26 people raised as Christians now identify as non-believers.

The study, which is based on an analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey and the European Social Survey, reported that the proportion of non-religious in the UK hit a high of 50.6 per cent in 2009. However, it has been decreasing ever since and hit 48.6 per cent in 2015.

However, the proportion of those who identify as Church of England worshippers has seen a slight increased from 16.3 per cent in 2009 to 17.1 per cent in 2015.[4]

France and Protestant Europe

See also: European desecularization in the 21st century and French atheism

In April 2010, Eric Kaufmann declared "the rate of secularisation has flattened to zero in most of Protestant Europe and France."[5]

21st century European desecularization

Concerning the future of religion/secularism in Europe, Eric Kaufmann also wrote:

We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006).

This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.[6]

See also: European desecularization in the 21st century

Religious immigrants to Europe resistant to secularization

See also: Religious immigrants to Europe resistant to secularization

Conservative Protestants have relatively high fertility rates.[7] (Picture: Protestant church pulpit in Europe)

In 2019, The Annual Review of Sociologypublished a journal article entitled Assimilation and the Second Generation in Europe and America: Blending and Segregating Social, Dynamics between Immigrants and Natives which indicated:

The persistence of a strong religious culture among Muslim immigrants long after having migrated and among the second generation is remarkable given the normative pressure toward secularism and lower religiosity levels in the European context. In Britain, Muslims’ religious identity is demonstrably as salient among individuals who migrated fifty years ago as among those who were born in the United Kingdom (Bisin et al. 2008, Lewis & Kashyap 2013).[8]

In 2011, a paper was published entitled The End of Secularization in Europe?: A Socio-Demographic Perspective. The authors of the paper were: Eric Kaufmann - Birkbeck College, University of London; Anne Goujon - World Population Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); Vegard Skirbekk World Population Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).[9]

An excerpt from the paper by Kaufmann, Goujon and Skirbekk:

Conservative Protestants, a much larger group than the Mormons, also benefit from relatively high fertility. Hout et al. (2001) find that three-quarters of the growth of conservative Protestant denominations against their liberal counterparts is due to fertility advantage rather than conversion.

In Europe, there has been less attention paid to fertility differences between denominations. However, several studies have discovered that immigrants to Europe tend to be more religious than the host population and — especially if Muslim—tend to retain their religiosity (Van Tubergen 2006). Though some indicators point to modest religious decline toward the host society mean, other trends suggest that immigrants become more, rather than less, religious the longer they reside in the host society (Van Tubergen 2007). All of which indicates that religious decline may fail at the aggregate level even if it is occurring at the individual level (Kaufmann 2006, 2010). This article thereby investigates the hypothesis that a combination of higher religious fertility, immigration, and slowing rates of religious apostasy will eventually produce a reversal in the decline of the religious population of Western Europe.[10]

Research indicates that among ethnic minority immigrants religion is a source of group ethnic identification which makes them more resistant to secularization.[11] In most countries, with the exception of France, Muslim immigrants have nearly 100% retention rates for the second generation.[12]

See also