My article in New Humanist

My article in New Humanist January 27, 2010

This month’s New Humanist has an article by me (Who Needs God? – a rather more jazzy title than the one I gave it). They’ve just posted it online, and also opened a thread for comments!

It basically covers the major sociological theories on the decline (or persistence) of religion, and talks a little about the psychology behind the theory that personal insecurity is an important factor in determining whether religion retains its position in society.

It also, of course, takes a look at my own research published last year. Here’s a taster:

We’re still a long way away from a universal theory to explain why some parts of the world are more religious than others. But the research linking societal stress and income inequality to high levels of religion at least helps to explain some conundrums that have perplexed sociologists. Why is the USA so religious, despite being the epitome of modernity? Well, largely because of the higher levels of stress faced by its citizens, compared with the relatively worry-free lives led by people living in the bosom of the European welfare state. It also helps to explain the blossoming of religion in Russia and other parts of the old Soviet bloc, which occurred against the backdrop of a sharp decline in living standards and the crumbling of the old certainties provided by the monolithic communist state.

Creative Commons License This article by Tom Rees was first published on Epiphenom. It is licensed under Creative Commons.

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