The issue of secularization has been extensively discussed within the Economics of Religion. However, the related issue of secularism has received little, if any, attention. Moreover, social sciences have only debated secularism in the context of state. This paper disaggregates religion and secularism into a number of analytically tractable strands and explores the possibility of secularism in the state of nature from different perspectives. The incidence of secularism in the state of nature is shown to be contingent on the level of aggregation, the reference groups and the dimensions of religion under consideration, and the cost of religious contest. It is also shown that the belief regarding the externalities of individual religious practice is the key determinant of the incidence of secularism, while the degree of exclusivity of religion moderates/accentuates the effect of the aforesaid belief. Finally, it is argued that a class of stateless settings is inherently conducive to constitutionally secular states. But it is also shown that unconditionally secular individuals are not necessary for a secular society and, by implication, state.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 2, 2012
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