Deepening Secularization? How to Read Official Statistics. A Case of the Czech Republic



Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source DISKUS
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords census; seculariuzation; Czech Republic; modernization
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Description The Czech Republic is often regarded as one of the most secularized countries in the world. It seems that such a statement is supported by the majority of statistical data, for example, the results of the last census, which was held in 2011. According to this census only 12 % of the Czech population identifies explicitly with a religious institution or tradition. It also shows a radical decline of traditional religious institutions such as the Catholic Church or the main protestant denominations, which have lost more than 50 % of their members over the last ten years. What do these facts mean? Are they, as some scholars and the majority of journalist and politicians argue, clear proof of the deepening secularization or even "atheisation" of contemporary Czech society? Or is it necessary to read this data more carefully and in the context of other relevant surveys? I will argue in this paper that the above mentioned and similar facts cannot be interpreted in the "traditional way" as evidence of deepening secularization but instead should be read as an indicator of a change in the interpretation of religion in connection to a new social and cultural concept of this phenomenon.
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