Journal Article

Can <i>Rising</i> Rates of Church Participation be a Consequence of Secularization?

Rick Phillips

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 65, issue 2, pages 139-153
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Can Rising Rates of Church Participation be a Consequence of Secularization?

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An influential theory in the sociology of religion holds that the separation of church and state forces religious organizations to compete with one another for adherents. This competitive climate heightens levels of church participation. This paper examines two cases where rates of individual religious activity increased following the differentiation of political and ecclesiastical structures as the competition theory predicts. However, the facts surrounding these increases are not wholly consistent with the theory's propositions. Rather, I show that a heretofore neglected variant of secularization theory suggests a mechanism that better links the process of social differentiation to changes in individual religious participation.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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