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Belonging and Believing among Dutch Forty-Year-Olds: A Panel Study

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This paper reports on a study of the relation between church membership and religious belief among a sample of Dutch forty-year-olds. First it describes developments in church membership between 1983 and 2007, using a longitudinal data set. This results in the identification of five groups: stable non-members, stable nominal members, stable core members, converts and apostates. Next the religious beliefs of these membership groups are studied from the perspective of two theoretical positions. From the perspective of secularization the assumption is tested that core members and converts will primarily endorse traditional, orthodox religious beliefs. From the perspective of religious individualization two alternative assumptions emerge. First, moderate levels of traditional religiosity will persist among nominal members and apostates and, secondly, nominal members and apostates will prefer alternative religious beliefs. The study supports the assumption relating to secularization, but is less clear about the assumptions relating to religious individualization.

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/content/journals/10.1163/157092511x571178
2011-01-01
2015-05-05

Affiliations: 1: Email: p.vermeer@rs.ru.nl

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