(Shri Verghese Mathew (76) presently in England, was DGM at the Trivandrum Office of Reserve Bank of India, when finally retired. He spent most of his official life in Chennai, Mumbai and Trivandrum.)
The rise of the religiously unaffiliated Americans or NONES have revived that link economic development with secularisation around the globe.
Back in the 1960s when secularisation theories first achieved high visibility, there were predictions that religion would wither away in the U.S.by the 21st century. The theories propounded by social scientists today tend to be more subtle – contending, for example, that societies in which “people feel constant threats to their health and well‐being are more religious, while religious beliefs and practices tend to be less strong where “existential security”’ is greater."
In this view gradual secularisation is to be expected in a generally healthy,wealthy,orderly society. Surveys conducted by the Pew Forum and the Pew Research Centre’s Global Attitude Project have asked people in many countries about importance of religion in their lives,how often they pray and whether it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person.
Throughout much of the world,there is an association between these measures of religiosity and a country’s national wealth: Publics in countries with a high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita tend to be less religious,while publics in countries with a low GDP tend to be more religious.
But Americans are an exception to this rule. Nonetheless, some theorists view the rise of the NONES in the U.S. as a sign that secularisation is advancing in America.