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Modernization and Religious Concord

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

AbstractTocqueville said that Americans combined a general belief in God with a lack of interest in denominational differences. Although this outlook may be particularly prevalent in the United States, it is also visible in other Western societies, although combined with lower levels of religious belief. This paper investigates the possibility of a relationship between a belief that there is truth in many religions and modernization, using data from the Gallup International Millenium Survey. The belief that there is truth in many religions is more prevalent in more affluent nations. Moreover, this belief does not seem to be merely an intermediate stage in a move away from religion. The relationship is about equally strong among people of all religious backgrounds. The tendency for modernization to lead to “religious concord” may help to explain the relationship between modernization and democracy noticed by Lipset.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, University of


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