Non-religion and Europe

Bullock, Josh and Bullivant, Stephen (2021) Non-religion and Europe. In: Davie, Grace and Leustean, Lucian N., (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Europe. Oxford, U.K. : Oxford University Press. pp. 551-567. ISBN 9780198834267


This chapter is concerned with the growing phenomenon of nonreligion and its place in modern Europe. The secular is hardly a new idea in European history but its nature and forms evolve. The focus here is on the growing significance of nonreligion in the twenty-first century especially among younger people. This phenomenon is approached in different ways: conceptually, statistically and ethnographically. The conceptual approach emphasizes the shift away from the absence of religion to the presence of a positively chosen alternative. The statistical section underlines the considerable variations in the presence of nonreligion both within and across the different parts of Europe and the reasons for this. Finally, three ethnographic vignettes illustrate the diverse ways in which substantive and engaged expressions of nonreligion ‘make sense’ within their particular socio-religious contexts.

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