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The original secularization thesis, and even its modifications, tended to see secularization as a one-way street. Religious revivals in the us or elsewhere were generally ignored or explained away. A leader of this school even wrote a book on the rise and fall of the us religious Right, published in It is not just the conclusions of the secularization thesis that can be challenged, but also its limited concept of secularization and the secular which centres on declining religious belief and church membership.
Secularization theory shares the linear-progressive viewpoint of modernization theory, and is really a sub-category of that theoretical approach. Although it is broadly true that societal secularization has usually accompanied modernization, the theory is undialectical and plays down contradictory forces. Hardly noted are the counter-examples to the view, including the fact that government secularization policies often bring about anti-secular reactions, especially among certain classes and groups. In recent decades, rapid modernization has contributed not only to secularism but to major anti-secularizing trends, especially in countries with growing fundamentalist movements.
Even Bryan R. Wilson, a founding father of the secularization thesis, notes that many who write of it limit their evidence to church membership, their subject of study to Christianity, and their idea of secularization to just one of its many meanings. Nor is history much mentioned by the sociologists involved. One may agree with these sociologists that modernization and its subcategories of urbanization, migration, and industrialization were by and large associated in the West with a weakening of religious institutions and belief.
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