Journal Article

Believing in secularisation: stories of decline, potential and resurgence


This article draws upon the methodology pioneered by the writer in Christian Ideals in British Culture: Stories of Belief in the Twentieth Century. This stressed the importance of narrative’s ability to influence and shape both secular and religious responses to the world and Christian belief within it in Britain. Secularisation narratives and their influence in the twentieth century are the article’s primary concern. Some, such as Jeffrey Cox, have already alluded to the fact that secularisation appeared to be something of a “story.” Alongside this, the conclusions from the recent work of the author indicated that the theory became infused with a series of clear narratives — with intentions, agendas, and messages. These had a series of storytellers/audiences and, lastly, often carried a palette of potentially didactic warnings. The article unpacks the significance of the secularisation narratives of “disenchantment,” “supply and demand failure,” “urbanisation, mobility, and decay,” “ideological discredit,” “triumph of (hard and social) science,” “consumer sovereignty and materialism,” “feminisation,” “the post-secular,” and “cataclysms and golden ages.” It shows how these narratives shaped the response of the pro-secular and defenders of Christian belief, as well as those who problematised the very relationship between the religious and the secular

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Nash, David S.

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Religion


Year of publication: 2017
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-01-13

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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