Becoming Humanist: Worldview Formation and the Emergence of Atheist Britain

Anna Strhan*, Lois Lee, Rachael Shillitoe

*Corresponding author for this work

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It is widely accepted that the growth of “non-religious” identification and “non-belief” in God(s) in many societies is linked to changing religious socialization. However, existing research mapping these intergenerational changes has largely focused on religious decline or the loss of belief –“push” factors – rather than exploring the distinctive non-religious forms of life into which children are growing up, which may operate as “pull” factors. Drawing on a qualitative study conducted with children, their parents, and teachers in England, we demonstrate how children come to inhabit a “humanist condition” through socialization processes in which “pull” factors towards humanism play a significant role and even shape the nature of “push” factors. The significance of new worldviews also helps explain how participants combine humanism with diverse religious and non-religious beliefs and practices. We argue that socialization processes at home and at school are interwoven and can be hard to distinguish in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbersrad050
Number of pages28
JournalSociology of Religion
Early online date6 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Mar 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024

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