Geloof als innerlijke keuze: Over de kerkelijke, religieuze en maatschappelijke implicaties van individualisering | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 68, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268


Individualization is one of the basic traits of contemporary Western society. How are church and religion related to this trend? After defining individualization as a process in which people become more independent of their immediate environment, as well as of related traditional cultural patterns, values and norms, this article focuses on the consequences of individualization for church and religion. Individualization is seen to have three ecclesiastical implications: church individualization, increasing church mobility and church decline, as well as three religious implications: religious individualization, increasing religious mobility and an increase of the popularity of atheism. It is argued that individualization entails at least three social paradoxes: more freedom of choice but also a heavier burden upon the individual to make choices, less social restrictions but also a weakening of the sense of safety and belonging, and more informal ways of social behavior, but also social coarsening. Churches and religions which fully incorporate the positive aspects of individualization and at the same time clearly meet its negative aspects will have chances to flourish in late modern society.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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