In recent years and decades, a widespread assumption that the world is experiencing a global rise of religion has persisted. Yet, the hypothesis of a "global resurgence of religion" has not been tested by means of empirical evidence. This study uses statistical time series and crosscountry data to test the hypothesis of "a global religious resurgence," and to assess its scope.
To address this question, the study examines global trends in religious adherence, and measures change of religious behavior and values over time in a multitude of countries spanning across six continents. The study identifies seven criteria by which the degree of religiosity among a certain population can be measured, using time–series and cross–country data. The study also examines other global religious trends, including a comparative overview over the relationship between religion and state in most countries, scanning variables such as the performance of religious parties in elections; preferential treatment of religions; countries with an official state religion; references to religion in constitutions; and countries under Sharia law.
The study concludes that there is ample evidence that the argument of a "global resurgence of religion" can largely be sustained, with the notable exception to this trend being the postindustrial countries—where the trend towards secularization itself, however, is far from consistent.