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Research Article

Explaining Global Secularity: Existential Security or Education?


Claude M. J. Braun

Department of Psychology Université du Québec à Montréal, CA
About Claude
Full professor of Psychology and Cognitive neuroscienceDeprtment of PsychologyUniversité du Québec à Montréal
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At the time of data analysis for this report there were 193 countries in the world. Various institutions – the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the CIA, the World Values Survey, Gallup, and many others – have performed sophisticated statistical analyses on cross-national data. The present investigation demonstrates that valid and reliable data concerning religiosity and secularity exist for most countries and that these data are comparable. Cross-national data relating to social, political, economic and cultural aspects of life were tested for correlation with religiosity/secularity. In contrast to the most widely accepted general account of secularity, the Existential Security Framework (ESF; Norris & Inglehart, 2004), secularity was not most highly related to material security, though these were highly related. Rather, secularity was most strongly related to the degree of formal education attained. Material security explained no significant variance beyond education. Thus, religion’s primary function in the world today is being replaced, not so much by the pseudo-materialistic supplication for better living conditions as posited by the ESF, but by contemporary education – extensive knowledge of contemporary cultures, philosophy, modes of thought or processes of reasoning.

How to Cite: Braun, C.M.J., 2012. Explaining Global Secularity: Existential Security or Education?. Secularism and Nonreligion, 1, pp.68–93. DOI:
Published on 26 Nov 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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