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A crude distinction

Eric Kaufmann's division of the world into religious and secular blocs is absurd and Gradgrindian

By Theo Hobson   November 2006

Eric Kaufmann seeks to contribute to the debate on secularisation by observing that demography means secularisation is on the wane in Europe: religious believers are breeding faster than secularists. Whether he is right about this is in my view a non-question. For the entire concept of “secularisation” is too vague to be of any use at all. A useful definition of “secular” relies on a useful definition of “religion.” So what is “religion”? Kaufmann simply assumes that we all know what it means: people are either religious or secular.

This distinction is absurdly crude. It’s like talking about “left-wing” and…

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