The Persistence of Faith Among Nonheterosexual Christians: Evidence for the Neosecularization Thesis of Religious Transformation

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Abstract:

The neosecularization thesis, which combines the “secularization” and “postsecularization” paradigms, argues that religion is in a constant state of transformation (thus persistence). It also argues that the examination of “secularization” needs to be conducted on three levels: macro, meso, and micro. Drawing from a quantitative and qualitative study involving 565 nonheterosexual Christians in the United Kingdom, this article aims to lend credence to the neosecularization thesis, focusing on the micro, or individual, level only. This article highlights the lack of influence and impact of religious authority structures on the respondents’ views of sexuality and spirituality. Data also demonstrated that, in the construction of the respondents’ identity and Christian faith, as well as the fashioning of Christian living, religious authority structures were considered the least significant factor, compared to the respondents’ employment of human reason and biblical understanding, within the framework of lived experiences. On the whole, data suggested that the self, rather than religious authority structures, steers the respondents’ journeys of spirituality and sexuality. This is evidence of the impact of the “detraditionalization” process on the late modern religious landscape, where the basis of religious faith and practice is primarily predicted on the self, rather than traditions and structures.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5906.00111

Affiliations: Nottingham Trent University, UK a.yip@ntu.ac.uk

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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