Secularization does not happen automatically

Secularization does not happen automatically

Hans Joas © Robert Thiele (KNA)

Society is evolving and religion is also taking a different position. Nevertheless, secularization does not take place automatically, says social philosopher Hans Joas. The weakening of religion is always followed by a countermovement, he said.

The progress of secularization in Europe is not inevitably fixed, according to social philosopher Hans Joas. There is by no means an automatism according to which increasing social and economic modernization leads to secularization, Joas said on Tuesday evening in Leipzig.

Sacralizations as a countermovement

Thus, despite a weakening of religion, counter-movements in the form of new "sacralizations" can always be observed. As an example, he cited a "sacralization of the nation," such as took place during the Nazi era.

Moreover, there is "the constant danger of the self-sacralization of collectives," Joas explained further: "I fear that the self-sacralization of the church as a sacred institution has played a considerable role in the sexual abuse by clergymen."

Secularization is used for different processes

In addition, the social philosopher criticized the fact that the term "secularization" is not used unambiguously, but for very different processes. "For example, the separation of church and state need not be a symptom of the weakening of religion," Joas stressed at an event hosted by the Catholic Academy of the Diocese of Dresden-Meissen.

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