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Science As Religion: The Role Of Scientism In The Secularization Process In Eastern Germany

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Chapter Summary

After 1989, the effects of the politics of the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) towards the churches over the previous 40 years had become strikingly obvious. This chapter argues that this development was not only the result of political conflict, fought with repression and sheer power, but also an ideological conflict. The chapter presents findings from authors research that supports this thesis. It focuses on how the relation between secular and religious organizations has been discussed within the sociology of religion from 1800s through today. Secondly, it presents a concise history of secularist movement in Germany. It then outlines the history of the Urania Society, before looking into the program and work of the Urania Society through the end of GDR. Lastly, it sketches results from the research and findings of others to show how the promotion of scientism contributed to the East German process of secularization at individual level.

Keywords: east Germany; German Democratic Republic (GDR); religion; religious organizations; scientism; secularist movement; secularization; Socialist Unity Party (SED); Urania Society



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