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Abstract

According to standard definitions, a main tenant of secularization is the weakening of belief in the divine. Even as the secularization narrative has been challenged and critiqued from almost every angle, few scholars have chosen to challenge the core definition of religiosity at the heart of the secularization paradigm. This paper rejects as insufficient the definition of religion as a relationship between an individual and his or her deity and posits a more nuanced alternative: that religion can be understood as a relationship with one’s past and that secularization can be understood as the severing of those bonds of memory. I argue that the state’s success, or failure, at severing these links of memory and offering a coherent replacement can offer insight into patterns of secularization and religious revival.

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