Analysis of International Social Survey Program (ISSP) data collected in 18 Western countries in 1998 demonstrates that Christian desires for a public role of religion are strongest in countries where Christian religiosity is numerically most marginal. Moreover, Dutch data covering the period 1970-1996 confirm that the decline of the number of Christians in the Netherlands has been coincided by a strengthening of the call for public religion among the remaining faithful and by increased polarization about this with the nonreligious. Religious decline and religious privatization, two of the most crucial dimensions of secularization (Casanova 1994), hence develop dialectically: as the number of Christians declines, the remaining faithful seem increasingly unwilling to accept the "secularist truce"--the secularist contract that guarantees religious freedom yet bans religion from the public sphere by relegating it to the private realm.
- OPINION POLARIZATION
- MODERN EUROPE