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Ronald F. Inglehart. Giving Up on God The Global Decline of Religion

In the early years of the twenty-first century, religion seemed to be on the rise. The collapse of both communism and the Soviet Union had left an ideological vacuum that was being filled by Orthodox Christianity in Russia and other post-Soviet states. The election in the United States of President George W. Bush, an evangelical Christian who made no secret of his piety, suggested that evangelical Christianity was rising as a political force in the country. And the 9/11 attacks directed international attention to the power of political Islam in the Muslim world. 

A dozen years ago, my colleague Pippa Norris and I analyzed data on religious trends in 49 countries, including a few subnational territories such as Northern Ireland, from which survey evidence was available from 1981 to 2007 (these countries contained 60 percent of the world’s population). We did not find a universal resurgence of religion, despite claims to that effect—most

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  • RONALD F. INGLEHART is Amy and Alan Lowenstein Professor Emeritus of Democracy, Democratization, and Human Rights at the University of Michigan and the author of the forthcoming book Religion’s Sudden Decline: What’s Causing It and What Comes Next? 
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