Secularization (or secularisation)[1] is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious values and secular institutions. The secularization thesis refers to the belief that as societies progress, particularly through modernization and rationalization, religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance.[2] The term secularization is also used in the context of the lifting of the monastic restrictions from a member of the clergy.[3]

Secularization refers to the historical process in which religion loses social and cultural significance. As a result of secularization the role of religion in modern societies becomes restricted. In secularized societies faith lacks cultural authority, and religious organizations have little social power.

Secularization has many levels of meaning, both as a theory and a historical process. Social theorists such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim, postulated that the modernization of society would include a decline in levels of religiosity. Study of this process seeks to determine the manner in which, or extent to which religious creeds, practices and institutions are losing social significance. Some theorists argue that the secularization of modern civilization partly results from our inability to adapt broad ethical and spiritual needs of mankind to the increasingly fast advance of the physical sciences.[4]

In contrast to the “modernization” thesis, Christian Smith and others argue that secularization is promoted by intellectual and cultural elites to enhance their own status and influence. Smith believes intellectuals have an inherent tendency to be hostile to their native cultures, causing them to embrace secularism.[5]

The term also has additional meanings, primarily historical and religious.[6] Applied to church property, historically it refers to the seizure of monastic lands and buildings, such as Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and the later acts during the French Revolution as well as by various anti-clerical enlightened absolutist European governments during the 18th and 19th centuries, which resulted in the expulsion and suppression of the religious communities which occupied them. The 19th-century Kulturkampf in Germany and Switzerland and similar events in many other countries also were expressions of secularization.[7]

Still another form of Secularization refers to the act of Prince-Bishops or holders of a position in a Monastic or Military Order - holding a combined religious and secular authority under the Catholic Church - who broke away and made themselves into completely secular (typically, Protestant) hereditary rulers. For example, Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of the Livonian Order, converted to Lutheranism, secularised (and took to himself) the lands of Semigallia and Courland which he had held on behalf of the order - which enabled him to marry and leave to his descendants the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia.

In the 1960s there was a shift toward secularization in Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. This transformation was intertwined with major social factors: economic prosperity, youth rebelling against the rules and conventions of society, women's liberation, radical theology, and radical politics.[8]


Secularization is sometimes credited both to the cultural shifts in society following the emergence of rationality and the development of science as a substitute for superstitionMax Weber called this process the "disenchantment of the world"—and to the changes made by religious institutions to compensate. At the most basic stages, this begins with a slow transition from oral traditions to a writing culture that diffuses knowledge. This first reduces the authority of clerics as the custodians of revealed knowledge. As the responsibility for education has moved from the family and community to the state, two consequences have arisen:

  • Collective conscience as defined by Durkheim is diminished
  • Fragmentation of communal activities leads to religion becoming more a matter of individual choice rather than an observed social obligation.

A major issue in the study of secularization is the extent to which certain trends such as decreased attendance at places of worship indicate a decrease in religiosity or simply a privatization of religious belief, where religious beliefs no longer play a dominant role in public life or in other aspects of decision making.

The issue of secularization is discussed in various religious traditions. The government of Turkey is an often cited example, following the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate and foundation of the Turkish republic in 1923. This established popular sovereignty in a secular republican framework, in opposition to a system whose authority is based on religion. As one of many examples of state modernization, this shows secularization and democratization as mutually reinforcing processes, relying on a separation of religion and state. In expressly secular states like India, it has been argued that the need was to legislate for toleration and respect between quite different religions, and likewise, the secularization of the West was a response to drastically violent intra-Christian feuds between Catholicism and Protestantism. Some have therefore argued that Western and Indian secularization is radically different in that it deals with autonomy from religious regulation and control. Considerations of both tolerance and autonomy are relevant to any secular state.


C. John Sommerville (1998) outlined six uses of the term secularization in the scientific literature. The first five are more along the lines of 'definitions' while the sixth is more of a 'clarification of use':[9]

  1. When discussing macro social structures, secularization can refer to differentiation: a process in which the various aspects of society, economic, political, legal, and moral, become increasingly specialized and distinct from one another.
  2. When discussing individual institutions, secularization can denote the transformation of a religious into a secular institution. Examples would be the evolution of institutions such as Harvard University from a predominantly religious institution into a secular institution (with a divinity school now housing the religious element illustrating differentiation).
  3. When discussing activities, secularization refers to the transfer of activities from religious to secular institutions, such as a shift in provision of social services from churches to the government.
  4. When discussing mentalities, secularization refers to the transition from ultimate concerns to proximate concerns. E.g., individuals in the West are now more likely to moderate their behavior in response to more immediately applicable consequences rather than out of concern for post-mortem consequences. This is a personal religious decline or movement toward a secular lifestyle.
  5. When discussing populations, secularization refers to broad patterns of societal decline in levels of religiosity as opposed to the individual-level secularization of (4) above. This understanding of secularization is also distinct from (1) above in that it refers specifically to religious decline rather than societal differentiation.
  6. When discussing religion, secularization can only be used unambiguously to refer to religion in a generic sense. For example, a reference to Christianity is not clear unless one specifies exactly which denominations of Christianity are being discussed.

Abdel Wahab Elmessiri (2002) outlined two meanings of the term secularization:

  1. Partial Secularization: which is the common meaning of the word, and expresses "The separation between religion and state".
  2. Complete Secularization: this definition is not limited to the partial definition, but exceeds it to "The separation between all (religion, moral, and human) values, and (not just the state) but also to (the human nature in its public and private sides), so that the holiness is removed from the world, and this world is transformed into a usable matter that can be employed for the sake of the strong".

Sociological use and differentiation

As studied by sociologists, one of the major themes of secularization is that of "differentiation"—i.e., the tendency for areas of life to become more distinct and specialized as a society becomes modernized. European sociology, influenced by anthropology, was interested in the process of change from the so-called primitive societies to increasingly advanced societies. In the United States, the emphasis was initially on change as an aspect of progress, but Talcott Parsons refocused on society as a system immersed in a constant process of increased differentiation, which he saw as a process in which new institutions take over the tasks necessary in a society to guarantee its survival as the original monolithic institutions break up. This is a devolution from single, less differentiated institutions to an increasingly differentiated subset of institutions.[10]

Following Parsons, this concept of differentiation has been widely applied. As phrased by José Casanova, this "core and the central thesis of the theory of secularization is the conceptualization of the process of societal modernization as a process of functional differentiation and emancipation of the secular spheres—primarily the state, the economy, and science—from the religious sphere and the concomitant differentiation and specialization of religion within its own newly found religious sphere". Casanova also describes this as the theory of "privatization" of religion, which he partially criticizes.[11] While criticizing certain aspects of the traditional sociological theory of secularization, however, David Martin argues that the concept of social differentiation has been its "most useful element".[12]

Current issues in secularization

At present, secularization as understood in the West is being debated in the sociology of religion. In his works Legitimacy of the Modern Age (1966) and The Genesis of the Copernican World (1975), Hans Blumenberg has rejected the idea of a historical continuity – fundamental the so-called 'theorem of secularization'; the Modern age in his view represents an independent epoch opposed to Antiquity and the Middle Ages by a rehabilitation of human curiosity in reaction to theological absolutism. "Blumenberg targets Löwith's argument that progress is the secularization of Hebrew and Christian beliefs and argues to the contrary that the modern age, including its belief in progress, grew out of a new secular self-affirmation of culture against the Christian tradition."[13] Wolfhart Pannenberg, a student of Löwith, has continued the debate against Blumenberg.[14]

Charles Taylor in "A Secular Age" challenges what he calls 'the subtraction thesis' – that science leads to religion being subtracted from more and more areas of life.

Proponents of "secularization theory" demonstrate widespread declines in the prevalence of religious belief throughout the West, particularly in Europe.[2][15] Some scholars (e.g., Rodney Stark, Peter Berger) have argued that levels of religiosity are not declining, while other scholars (e.g., Mark Chaves, N. J. Demerath) have countered by introducing the idea of neo-secularization, which broadens the definition of secularization to include the decline of religious authority and its ability to influence society.

In other words, rather than using the proportion of irreligious apostates as the sole measure of secularity, neo-secularization argues that individuals increasingly look outside of religion for authoritative positions. Neo-secularizationists would argue that religion has diminishing authority on issues such as birth control, and argue that religion's authority is declining and secularization is taking place even if religious affiliation may not be declining in the United States (a debate still taking place).

Finally, some claim that demographic forces offset the process of secularization, and may do so to such an extent that individuals can consistently drift away from religion even as society becomes more religious. This is especially the case in societies like Israel (with the ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionists) where committed religious groups have several times the birth rate of seculars. The religious fertility effect operates to a greater or lesser extent in all countries, and is amplified in the West by religious immigration. For instance, even as native whites became more secular, London, England, has become more religious in the past 25 years as religious immigrants and their descendants have increased their share of the population.[16] Across the board, the question of secularization has generated considerable (and occasionally heated) debates in the social sciences[17].

Regional developments

United States

1870-1930. Christian Smith examined the secularization of American public life between 1870 and 1930. He noted that in 1870 a Protestant establishment thoroughly dominated American culture and its public institutions. By the turn of the 20th century, however, positivism had displaced the Baconian method (which had hitherto bolstered natural theology) and higher education had been thoroughly secularized. In the 1910s "legal realism" gained prominence, de-emphasizing the religious basis for law. That same decade publishing houses emerged that were independent of the Protestant establishment. During the 1920s secularization extended into popular culture and mass public education ceased to be under Protestant cultural influence. Although the general public was still highly religious during this time period, by 1930 the old Protestant establishment was in "shambles".[18]

Key to understanding the secularization, Smith argues, was the rise of an elite intellectual class skeptical of religious orthodoxies and influenced by the European Enlightenment tradition. They consciously sought to displace a Protestant establishment they saw as standing in their way.[19]

2008-2017. Annual Gallup polls from 2008 through 2015 showed that the fraction of American who did not identify with any particular religion steadily rose from 14.6% in 2008 to 19.6% in 2015. At the same time, the fraction of Americans identifying as Christians sank from 80.1% to 75% during the same time.[20] This trend continued until 2017 when 21.3% of Americans declared no religious identity.[21] Given that non-Christian religions stayed roughly the same (at about 5% from 2008 to 2015) secularization seems to have affected primarily Christians.[20]



In Britain, secularization came much later than in most of Western Europe. It began in the 1960s as part of a much larger social and cultural revolution. Until then the postwar years had seen a revival of religiosity in Britain.[22] Sociologists and historians have engaged in vigorous debates over when it started, how fast it happened, and what caused it.[23]

Sponsorship by royalty, aristocracy, and influential local gentry provided an important support-system for organized religion. The sponsorship faded away in the 20th century, as the local élites were no longer so powerful or so financially able to subsidize their favourite activities. In coal-mining districts, local collieries typically funded local chapels, but that ended as the industry grew distressed and the unionized miners rejected élite interference in their local affairs. This allowed secularizing forces to gain strength.[24]

Recent developments

Data from the annual British Social Attitudes survey and the biennial European Social Survey suggest that the proportion of Britons who identify as Christian fell from 55% (in 1983) to 43% (in 2015). While members of non-Christian religions – principally Muslims and Hindus – quadrupled, the non-religious ("nones") now make up 53% of the British population.[25] More than six in 10 “nones” were brought up as Christians, mainly Anglican or Catholic. Only 2% of “nones” were raised in religions other than Christian.[26]

People who were brought up to practise a religion, but who now identifies as having no religion, so-called "non-verts", had different "non-version" rates, namely 14% for Jews, 10% for Muslims and Sikhs and 6% for Hindus. The proportions of the non-religious who convert to a faith are small: 3% now identify as Anglicans, less than 0.5% convert to Catholicism, 2% join other Christian denominations and 2% convert to non-Christian faiths.[26]


Hinduism, which is the dominant way of life in India, has been described as a 'culture and civilisation of ancient origin' that is 'intrinsically secular'.[27] India, post-independence, has seen the emergence of an assertive secular state.[28]


One traditional view of Chinese culture sees the teachings of Confucianism - influential over many centuries - as basically secular.[29]

Chang Pao-min summarises perceived historical consequences of very early secularization in China:

The early secularization of Chinese society, which must be recognized as a sign of modernity [...] has ironically left China for centuries without a powerful and stable source of morality and law. All this simply means that the pursuit of wealth or power or simply the competition for survival can be and often has been ruthless without any sense of restraint. [...] Along with the early secularization of Chinese society which was equally early, the concomitant demise of feudalism and hereditary aristocracy, another remarkable development, transformed China earlier than any other country into a unitary system politically, with one single power centre. It also rendered Chinese society much more egalitarian than Western Europe and Japan.[30]

In this arguably secular setting, the Chinese Communist Party régime of the People's Republic of China (in power on the Chinese mainland from 1949) promoted deliberate secularization.[31]

Arab world

Many countries in the Arab world show signs of increasing secularization. For instance, in Egypt, support for imposing sharia (Islamic law) fell from 84% in 2011 to 34% in 2016. Egyptians also pray less: among older Egyptians (55+) 90% prayed daily in 2011. Among the younger generation (age 18-24) that fraction was only 70%. By contrast, in 2016 these numbers had fallen to <80% (55+) and <40% (18-24).[32] The other age groups were in between these values. In Lebanon and Morocco, the number of people listening to daily recitals of the quran fell by half from 2011 to 2016.[32] Some of these developments seem to be driven by need, e.g. by stagnating incomes which force women to contribute to household income and therefore to work. High living costs delay marriage and, as a consequence, seem to encourage pre-marital sex.[32] However, in other countries, such as Algeria, Jordan, and Palestine, support for sharia and islamist ideas seems to grow. Even in countries in which secularization is growing, there are backlashes. For instance, the president of Egypt, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, has banned hundreds of newspapers and websites who may provoke opposition.[32]

See also


  1. ^ See occurrences on Google Books.
  2. ^ a b "The Secularization Debate", chapter 1 (pp. 3-32) of Norris, Pippa; Inglehart, Ronald (2004). Sacred and Secular. Religion and Politics Worldwide. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83984-6. ;.
  3. ^ "secularization". Retrieved 2 May 2018 – via The Free Dictionary.
  4. ^ See text Archived 2010-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Smith, Christian. The Secular Revolution: Powers, Interests, and Conflicts in the Secularization of American Public Life (2012)
  6. ^ Casanova, Jose (1994). Public Religions in the Modern World. University of Chicago Press, pg. 13. ISBN 0-226-09535-5
  7. ^ Gould, Andrew in: Origins of Liberal Dominance: State, Church, and Party in Nineteenth-century Europe, University of Michigan Press, 1999, p. 82, ISBN 978-0-472-11015-5
  8. ^ Jeffrey Cox, "Secularization and other master narratives of religion in modern Europe." Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte (2001): 24-35.
  9. ^ Somerville, C. J. "Secular Society Religious Population: Our Tacit Rules for Using the Term Secularization. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 37 (2):249-53. (1998)
  10. ^ Martin, David (2005). On Secularization: Toward a Revised General Theory. Ashgate Publishing Company, p. 20. ("Parsons saw differentiation as the separating out of each social sphere from ecclesiastical control: the state, science, and the market, but also law, welfare, and education etc.")
  11. ^ Casanova, Jose (1994). Public Religions in the Modern World. University of Chicago Press, p. 19. ISBN 0-226-09535-5 ("Only in the 1980s, after the sudden eruption of religion into the public sphere, did it become obvious that differentiation and the loss of societal functions do not necessarily entail 'privatization.'")
  12. ^ Martin, p. 20.
  13. ^ Buller, Cornelius A. (1996). The Unity of Nature and History in Pannenberg's Theology. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-822-63055-5. ;.
  14. ^ Pannenberg, Wolfhart (1973). "Christianity as the Legitimacy of the Modern Age (1968)". The Idea of God and Human Freedom, Volume 3. London: Westminster Press. pp. 178–191. ISBN 978-0-664-20971-1. ;.
  15. ^ Bruce, Steve. God is Dead: Secularization in the West. (2002)
  16. ^ Kaufmann, Eric. 2011. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. London: Profile Books. Also see Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Dromi, Shai M.; Stabler, Samuel D. (2019). "Good on paper: sociological critique, pragmatism, and secularization theory". Theory & Society. Online First. doi:10.1007/s11186-019-09341-9.
  18. ^ Smith, Christian. The Secular Revolution: Powers, Interests, and Conflicts in the Secularization of American Public Life (2012) pp.25-28
  19. ^ Smith, Christian. The Secular Revolution: Powers, Interests, and Conflicts in the Secularization of American Public Life (2012) pp.32-43
  20. ^ a b Inc., Gallup,. "Percentage of Christians in U.S. Drifting Down, but Still High". Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  21. ^ Inc., Gallup,. "2017 Update on Americans and Religion". Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  22. ^ Callum G. Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation, 1800-2000 (2009) pp 170-92.
  23. ^ Jeremy Morris, "Secularization and religious experience: arguments in the historiography of modern British religion." Historical Journal 55#1 (2012): 195-219.
  24. ^ Steve Bruce, "Patronage and secularization: social obligation and church support Patronage and secularization: social obligation and church support," British Journal of Sociology (2012) 63#3 pp 533-552.
  25. ^ "A majority of Britons now follow no religion". The Economist. 9 Sep 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-10-13.
  26. ^ a b Sherwood, Harriet; correspondent, religion (2017-05-13). "Nearly 50% are of no religion – but has UK hit 'peak secular'?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  27. ^ "Hinduism is intrinsically secular". Archived from the original on 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  28. ^ Galanter, Marc. "Hinduism, Secularism, and the Indian Judiciary". Philosophy East and West. 21.
  29. ^ Berger, Peter (2012-02-15). "Is Confucianism a Religion?". The American Interest. The American Interest LLC. ISSN 1556-5777. Archived from the original on 2015-08-17. Retrieved 2016-03-03. There can be no doubt that Confucianism has been a powerful cultural influence throughout East Asia, providing social and political values not only in China, but in Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. [...] [T]here has been the view of Confucianism as nothing but a secular, perhaps even a secularizing morality.
  30. ^ Chang, Pao-min (1999). "Corruption and Crime in China: Old Problems and New trends". The Journal of East Asian Affairs. Institute for National Security Strategy. 13 (1, Spring/Summer): 223. ISSN 1010-1608. JSTOR 23257220. quoted in: Bao-Er (2007). China's Child Contracts: A philosophy of child rights in twenty-first century China. Blaxland, New South Wales: The Blue Mountains Legal Research Centre. p. 43. ISBN 9781921300561. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  31. ^ See for example: Marsh, Christopher (2011). "Introduction: From Forced Secularization to Desecularization". Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival, and Revival. A&C Black. p. 10. ISBN 9781441112477. Retrieved 2016-03-03. [...] forced secularization is not so easily achieved, and [...] the lengths to which the Soviet and PRC regimes went was insufficient to completely - or even thoroughly - expunge religion from society. [...] [T]hese regimes were willing to go to great lengths to eliminate religion in the name of science and progress, and the outcome at every stage was uncertain.
  32. ^ a b c d "The new Arab Cosmopolitans". The Economist. 4 Nov 2017.

Further reading

  • Berger, Peter. The Sacred Canopy. (1967)
  • Berger, Peter. The Desecularization of the World. (1999)
  • Brown, Callum G. The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation, 1800-2000 (2009).
  • Bruce, Steve, and Tony Glendinning, "When was secularization? Dating the decline of the British churches and locating its cause" British journal of sociology 61#1 (2010): 107-126.
  • Bruce, Steve. Religion in the Modern World: From Cathedrals to Cults
  • Bruce, Steve. God is Dead: Secularization in the West. (2002)
  • Casanova, Jose. Public Religions in the Modern World. (1994)
  • Chaves, M. Secularization As Declining Religious Authority. Social Forces 72(3):749–74. (1994)
  • Ellul, Jacques. The New Demons. (1973/tr. 1975)
  • Gauchet, Marcel. The Disenchantment of the World. (1985/tr. 1997)
  • Gilbert, Alan D. The making of post-Christian Britain: a history of the secularization of modern society (Longman, 1980).
  • Martin, David. A General Theory of Secularization. (New York: Harper & Row, 1979).
  • Sommerville, C. J. "Secular Society Religious Population: Our Tacit Rules for Using the Term Secularization. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 37#2 :249–53. (1998)
  • Said, E. Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient. London: Penguin. (1978).
  • Skolnik, Jonathan and Peter Eli Gordon, eds., New German Critique 94 (2005) Special Issue on Secularization and Disenchantment
  • Stark, Rodney, Laurence R. Iannaccone, Monica Turci, and Marco Zecchi. "How Much Has Europe Been Secularized?" Inchiesta 32 #136 pp:99–112. (2002)
  • Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. (Harvard University Press, 2007)
  • Warrier, Maya. "Processes of Secularisation in Contemporary India: Guru Faith in the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission," Modern Asian Studies (2003)

External links

Alliance Israélite Universelle

The Alliance israélite universelle (Hebrew: כל ישראל חברים) is a Paris-based international Jewish organization founded in 1860 by the French statesman Adolphe Crémieux to safeguard the human rights of Jews around the world. The organization promotes the ideals of Jewish self-defense and self-sufficiency through education and professional development. It is noted for establishing French-language schools for Jewish children throughout the Mediterranean, Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the 19th and early 20th century.

The motto of the organization is the Jewish rabbinic injunction Kol yisrael arevim ze laze (כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה), translated into French as Tous les israélites sont solidaires les uns des autres ("All Jews are responsible for one another").

José María de Echeandía

José María de Echeandía (?–1871) was twice Mexican governor of Alta California from 1825 to 1831 and again from 1832 to 1833. He was the only governor of California that lived in San Diego.

Juan Bautista Alvarado

Juan Bautista Valentín Alvarado y Vallejo (February 14, 1809 – July 13, 1882) was a Californio and President and Governor of Alta California from 1836 to 1842.

After the Spanish flag left California for good in 1822, California went through a period of perpetual political upheaval. In 1835 and 1836 alone, California had a series of seven chief executives. Then in the Revolution of November 1836, with backing from Capt. Isaac Graham and his “Tennessee Rifles,” the territorial Diputación ousted the last Jéfe Politico, who fled to Mexico. Following that, the elected territorial Diputación reorganized as a constituent congress, declared Alta California independent, and voted José Castro its first President. One month later, the new, national Assembly elected Alvarado the second President. Facing a military invasion from Mexico, and losing support at home, Alvarado negotiated for full Mexican recognition of Alta California as a “Free and Sovereign” state, and assumed the title of Gobernador, bringing political stability to California for the first time since Spanish rule ended.

Mexican secularization act of 1833

The Mexican secularization act of 1833 was passed twelve years after Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. Mexico feared Spain would continue to have influence and power in California because most of the Spanish missions in California remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. As the new Mexican republic matured, calls for the secularization ("disestablishment") of the missions increased. Once fully implemented, the secularization act, called An Act for the Secularization of the Missions of California, took away much of the California Mission land and sold or gave it away in large grants called ranchos.

Post-Classic stage

In the classification of the archaeology of the Americas, the Post-Classic Stage is a term applied to some Precolumbian cultures, typically ending with local contact with Europeans. This stage is the fifth of five archaeological stages posited by Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips' 1958 book Method and Theory in American Archaeology.

The Lithic stage

The Archaic stage

The Formative stage

The Classic stage

The Post-Classic stageCultures of the Post-Classic Stage are defined distinctly by possessing developed metallurgy. Social organization is supposed to involve complex urbanism and militarism. Ideologically, Post-Classic cultures are described as showing a tendency towards the secularization of society.Postclassic Mesoamerica runs from about 900 to 1519 AD, and includes the following cultures: Aztec, Tarascans, Mixtec, Totonac, Pipil, Itzá, Kowoj, K'iche', Kaqchikel, Poqomam, Mam.

In the North American chronology, the "Post-Classic Stage" followed the Classic stage in certain areas, and typically dates from around AD 1200 to modern times.

Protestant Church in the Netherlands

The Protestant Church in the Netherlands (Dutch: Protestantse Kerk in Nederland, abbreviated PKN) is the largest Protestant denomination in the Netherlands, being both Reformed (Calvinist) and Lutheran.

It was founded 1 May 2004 as the merger of the vast majority of Dutch Reformed Church, the vast majority of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The merger was the culmination of an organizational process started in 1961. Several orthodox Reformed and liberal churches did not merge into the new church.

The Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) forms the second largest Christian denomination after the Roman Catholic Church, with approximately 1.6 million members as per the church official statistics or some 9.1% of the population in 2016. It is the traditional faith of the Dutch Royal Family – a remnant of historical dominance of the Dutch Reformed Church, the main predecessor of the Protestant Church.


Pudagla is a municipality in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. From 1307/09 until the Protestant Reformation, it was the site of Pudagla or Usedom Abbey, which moved there from Usedom (town) (Grobe Abbey). After the abbey's secularization into a ducal domain, it at times served as an administrative center. Historical buildings are the former monastery church, some further ruins of the abbey, and a palace.

Quiet Revolution

The Quiet Revolution (French: Révolution tranquille) was a period of intense socio-political and socio-cultural change in the Canadian province of Québec, characterized by the effective secularization of government, the creation of a state-run welfare state (état-providence), and realignment of politics into federalist and sovereigntist (or separatist) factions and the eventual election of a pro-sovereignty provincial government in the 1976 election. The Quiet Revolution typically refers to the efforts made by the Liberal government of Jean Lesage (elected in 1960), and sometimes Robert Bourassa (elected in 1970 after the Union Nationale's Daniel Johnson in 1966), though given the profound effect of the changes, most provincial governments since the early 1960s have maintained an orientation based on core concepts developed and implemented in that era.

A primary change was an effort by the provincial government to take more direct control over the fields of health care and education, which had previously been in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. It created ministries of Health and Education, expanded the public service, and made massive investments in the public education system and provincial infrastructure. The government further allowed unionization of the civil service. It took measures to increase Québécois control over the province's economy and nationalized electricity production and distribution and worked to establish the Canada/Québec Pension Plan. Hydro-Québec was also created in an attempt to nationalize Québéc's electric companies. French-Canadians in Québec also adopted the new name 'Québécois', trying to create a separate identity from France and establish themselves as a reformed province.

The Quiet Revolution was a period of unbridled economic and social development in Québec and Canada and paralleled similar developments in the West in general. It was a byproduct of Canada's 20-year post-war expansion and Québéc's position as the leading province for more than a century before and after Confederation. It witnessed particular changes to the built environment and social structures of Montreal, Québéc's leading city. The Quiet Revolution also extended beyond Québec's borders by virtue of its influence on contemporary Canadian politics. During the same era of renewed Quebecois nationalism, French Canadians made great inroads into both the structure and direction of the federal government and national policy. Moreover, certain facets of the welfare state, as they developed in Québec in the 1960s, became nationalized by virtue of Québec's acceptance and promotion. This would include rural electrification and healthcare initiatives undertaken by Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan twenty years earlier.


The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss (formally the Hauptschluss der außerordentlichen Reichsdeputation, or "Principal Conclusion of the Extraordinary Imperial Delegation"), sometimes referred to in English as the Final Recess or the Imperial Recess of 1803, was a resolution passed by the Reichstag (Imperial Diet) of the Holy Roman Empire on 24 March 1803. It was ratified by the Emperor Francis II and became law on 27 April. It proved to be the last significant law enacted by the Empire before its dissolution in 1806.The resolution was approved by an Imperial Delegation (Reichsdeputation) on 25 February and submitted to the Reichstag for acceptance. It was based on a plan agreed in June 1802 between France and Russia, and broad principles outlined in the Treaty of Lunéville of 1801. The law secularized nearly 70 ecclesiastical states and abolished 45 imperial cities to compensate numerous German princes for territories to the west of the Rhine that had been annexed by France as a result of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Salem Abbey

Salem Abbey (Kloster or Reichskloster Salem), also known as Salmansweiler and in Latin as Salomonis Villa, was a very prominent Cistercian monastery in Salem in the district of Bodensee about ten miles from Konstanz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The buildings are now owned by the State of Baden-Württemberg and are open for tours as the Salem Monastery and Palace.


Secularism, as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the "indifference to, or rejection or exclusion of, religion and religious considerations." In different contexts the word can refer to anticlericalism, atheism, desire to exclude religion from social activities or civic affairs, banishment of religious symbols from the public sphere, state neutrality toward religion, the separation of religion from state, or disestablishment (separation of church and state).As a philosophy, secularism seeks to interpret life on principles taken solely from the material world, without recourse to religion. Secularism draws its intellectual roots from Greek and Roman philosophers such as Zeno of Citium and Marcus Aurelius; from Enlightenment thinkers such as Erasmus, John Locke, Denis Diderot, Voltaire, Baruch Spinoza, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine; and from more recent freethinkers

atheists such as Robert Ingersoll, Bertrand Russell, and Christopher Hitchens. It shifts the focus from religion to other ‘temporal’ and ‘this-worldly’ things with emphasis on nature, reason, science, and development.In political terms, secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institution and religious dignitaries (the attainment of such is termed secularity). Defined briefly, secularism means that governments should remain neutral on the matter of religion and should not enforce nor prohibit the free exercise of religion, leaving religious choice to the liberty of the people. One form of secularism is asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, or, in a state declared to be neutral on matters of belief, from the imposition by government of religion or religious practices upon its people. Another form of secularism is the view that public activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be uninfluenced by religious beliefs or practices. There exist distinct traditions of secularism in the West (e.g., French and Anglo-American) and beyond (e.g., in India).The purposes and arguments in support of secularism vary widely. In European laicism, it has been argued that secularism is a movement toward modernization, and away from traditional religious values (also known as secularization). This type of secularism, on a social or philosophical level, has often occurred while maintaining an official state church or other state support of religion. In the United States, some argue that state secularism has served to a greater extent to protect religion and the religious from governmental interference, while secularism on a social level is less prevalent. On the other hand, Meiji era Japan maintained that it was secular and allowed freedom of religion despite enforcing State Shinto and continuing to prohibit certain "superstitions;" scholar of religion Jason Ānanda Josephson has labelled this conception of the secular "the Shinto Secular" and noted that it follows a pattern established in certain European constitutions.


Secularity (derived from the word "secular" which comes from Latin saeculum meaning "worldly", "of a generation", "temporal", or a span of about 100 years) is the state of being separate from religion, or of not being exclusively allied with or against any particular religion. Historically, the word secular was not related or linked to religion, but was a freestanding term in Latin which would relate to any mundane endeavour. However, the term, saecula saeculorum (saeculōrum being the genitive plural of saeculum) as found in the New Testament in the Vulgate translation (circa 410) of the original Koine Greek phrase "εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων" (eis toùs aionas ton aiṓnōn), e.g. at Galatians 1:5, was used in the early Christian church (and is still used today), in the doxologies, to denote the coming and going of the ages, the grant of eternal life, and the long duration of created things from their beginning to forever and ever. The idea of a dichotomy between religion and the secular originated in the European Enlightenment. Furthermore, since religion and secular are both Western concepts that were formed under the influence of Christian theology, other cultures do not necessarily have words or concepts that resemble or are equivalent to them. In many cultures, "little conceptual or practical distinction is made between 'natural' and 'supernatural' phenomena" and the very notions of religious and nonreligious dissolve into unimportance, nonexistence, or unawareness, especially since people have beliefs in other supernatural or spiritual things irrespective of belief in God or gods.

Conceptions of what is and what is not religion vary in contemporary East Asia as well. The shared term for "irreligion" or "no religion" (無宗教, Chinese pron. wú zōngjiào, Japanese pron. mu shūkyō) with which the majority of East Asian populations identify themselves implies non-membership in one of the institutional religions (such as Buddhism and Christianity) but not necessarily non-belief in traditional folk religions collectively represented by Chinese Shendao (shén dào) and Japanese Shinto (both meaning "ways of gods"). In modern Japan, religion has negative connotation since it is associated with foreign belief systems so many identify as "nonreligious" (mushukyo), but this does not mean they have a complete rejection or absence of beliefs and rituals relating to supernatural, metaphysical, or spiritual things. In the Meiji era, the Japanese government consciously excluded Shinto from the category of religion in order to enforce State Shinto while asserting their state followed American-mandated requirements for freedom of religion; this has fed into the contemporary Japanese experience of "secularity" as well as the government's regulation of religious beliefs and institutions from the Meiji era into the present day.One can regard eating and bathing as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them. Nevertheless, some religious traditions see both eating and bathing as sacraments, therefore making them religious activities within those world views. Saying a prayer derived from religious text or doctrine, worshipping through the context of a religion, performing corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and attending a religious seminary school or monastery are examples of religious (non-secular) activities.

The "secular" is experienced in diverse ways ranging from separation of religion and state to being anti-religion or even pro-religion, depending on the culture. For example, the United States has both separation of church and state and pro-religiosity in various forms such as protection of religious freedoms; France has separation of church and state (and Revolutionary France was strongly anti-religious); the Soviet Union was anti-religion; in India, people feel comfortable identifying as secular while participating in religion; and in Japan, since the concept of "religion" is not indigenous to Japan, people state they have no religion while doing what appears to be religion to Western eyes.A related term, secularism, involves the principle that government institutions and their representatives should remain separate from religious institutions, their beliefs, and their dignitaries. Many businesses and corporations, and some governments operate on secular lines. This stands in contrast to theocracy, government with deity as its highest authority.

Secularization (church property)

Secularization is the confiscation of church land or property by the state. The term is often used to specifically refer to such confiscations during the French Revolution and the First French Empire, either in the sense of seizing churches and converting their property to state ownership or in the sense of incorporating ecclesiastical principalities and territories of the former Holy Roman Empire into larger secular territorial states.

Secularization of monastic estates in Romania

The law on the secularization of monastic estates in Romania was proposed in December 1863 by Domnitor Alexandru Ioan Cuza and approved by the Parliament of Romania. By its terms, the Romanian United Principalities (as the state was then known) confiscated the large estates owned by the Eastern Orthodox Church in Romania (which was in strict obedience to the Greek Orthodox Church at the time). One of the measures ensuring secularism and the separation of church and state, it was also designed to provide an arable land reserve for land reform, without raising the issue of boyar estates.

Probably more than a quarter of Romania's farmland was controlled by untaxed Eastern Orthodox "Dedicated Monasteries", which supported Greek and other foreign monks in shrines such as Mount Athos and Jerusalem. These estates, which were mostly formed under Phanariote reigns in Wallachia and Moldavia respectively, had a low productivity and were also a substantial drain on state revenues.

The measure was unpopular among both Liberal and Conservative groupings, but it had both popular support and the support of Romania's suzerain, the Ottoman Empire. On December 23, the Ottoman Empire requested the intervention of the "guaranteeing powers" (the United Kingdom, the French Empire, Italy, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and the Russian Empire — all had been overseeing Romania ever since the 1856 Treaty of Paris) to influence the country in passing the bill. However, Prime Minister Mihail Kogălniceanu did not wait for their intervention, and on December 25, 1863, he introduced the bill into Parliament, which voted 93 to 3 in favour.

In August 1863, Cuza offered 82 million gold Romanian leu as compensation to the Greek Orthodox Church, but Sophronius III, the Patriarch of Constantinople, refused to negotiate; after several years, the Romanian government withdrew its offer and no compensation was ever paid. State revenues thereby increased without adding any domestic tax burden.

Sociology of religion

Sociology of religion is the study of the beliefs, practices and organizational forms of religion using the tools and methods of the discipline of sociology. This objective investigation may include the use of both quantitative methods (surveys, polls, demographic and census analysis) and qualitative approaches such as participant observation, interviewing, and analysis of archival, historical and documentary materials.Modern academic sociology began with the analysis of religion in Émile Durkheim's 1897 study of suicide rates among Catholic and Protestant populations, a foundational work of social research which served to distinguish sociology from other disciplines, such as psychology. The works of Karl Marx and Max Weber emphasized the relationship between religion and the economic or social structure of society. Contemporary debates have centered on issues such as secularization, civil religion, and the cohesiveness of religion in the context of globalization and multiculturalism. The contemporary sociology of religion may also encompass the sociology of irreligion (for instance, in the analysis of secular humanist belief systems).

Sociology of religion is distinguished from the philosophy of religion in that it does not set out to assess the validity of religious beliefs. The process of comparing multiple conflicting dogmas may require what Peter L. Berger has described as inherent "methodological atheism". Whereas the sociology of religion broadly differs from theology in assuming indifference to the supernatural, theorists tend to acknowledge socio-cultural reification of religious practice.

Sonoma State Historic Park

Sonoma State Historic Park is a California State Park located in the center of Sonoma, California. The park consists of six sites: the Mission San Francisco Solano, the Sonoma Barracks (sometimes called the Presidio of Sonoma), the Blue Wing Inn, La Casa Grande, Lachryma Montis, and the Toscano Hotel.

The park was founded in 1909 and originally contained only the Mission San Francisco Solano. The State of California has, over the years, added additional historic locations to the Park. Many of the added venues were associated with the life of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo who was central to secularization of the Mission; the founding and improvement of the Mexican pueblo of Sonoma; and, the development of Sonoma as an American city.

Western religions

Western religions refers to religions that originated within Western culture, and are thus historically, culturally, and theologically distinct from the Eastern religions. The term Abrahamic religions (Islam, Eastern Christianity and Judaism) is often used instead of using the East and West terminology.

Western culture itself was significantly influenced by the emergence of Christianity and its adoption as the state church of the Roman Empire in the late 4th century and the term "Christendom" largely indicates this intertwined history. Western Christianity was significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion (notably Platonism) as well as the Roman imperial cult. Western Christianity is based on Roman Catholicism (Latin Rite), as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy, from which it was divided by the Great Schism of the 11th century, and further includes all Protestant traditions splitting off Roman Catholicism from the 16th century.

Since the 19th century, Western religion has diversified into numerous new religious movements, including Occultism, Spiritism and diverse forms of Neopaganism.

Wettenhausen Abbey

Wettenhausen Abbey (German: Kloster Wettenhausen, Reichsabtei Wettenhausen) was an Imperial Abbey of Augustinian Canons until its secularization in 1802-1803. Being one of the 40-odd self-ruling Imperial Abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire, Wettenhaussen Abbey was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice in the Imperial Diet, where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia. At the time of secularization, the Abbey's territory covered 56 square kilometers and it had about 5,400 subjects.It is now a Dominican convent. The abbey is in Wettenhausen in the municipality of Kammeltal in Bavaria.

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