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Secular religion is a term used to describe ideas, theories or philosophies which involve no spiritual component yet possess qualities similar to those of a religion. Such qualities include such things as dogma, a system of indoctrination, the prescription of an absolute code of conduct, an ideologically tailored creation story and end-times narrative, designated enemies, and unquestioning devotion to a higher authority. The secular religion operates in a secular society by filling a role which would be satisfied by a church or another religious authority. The idea of secular religion is similar to the Judeo-Christian concept of idolatry.

Social philosopher Raymond Aron notably uses the term to refer to Communism.[1] Likewise, philosopher of science Michael Ruse has made use of the term in discussing evolution theory.[2] Similarly Thomas Frank suggests that the free market has become a secular religion in the United States. [3]

See also


  1. Aron, Raymond. The Opium of the Intellectuals. London: Secker & Warburg, 1957, pp. 265-294.
  2. Ruse, Michael. "Is Evolution a Secular Religion?". Science, 7 March 2003.
  3. Frank, Thomas. "The Rise of Market Populism: America's New Secular Religion", The Nation, October 30, 2000.

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