Religiousness, Spirituality and Health in Secular Society: Need for Spiritual Care in Health Care?

Niels Christian Hvidt, Elisabeth Assing Hvidt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Secularization impacts most cultures and seems to be spreading still. What can we learn from the most secular nations in the world on how secularization impacts the relationship between religiousness, spirituality and health? Does secularization mean that religious and spiritual considerations during crisis vanish? Or is it rather the opposite, that there is ever more religious and spiritual insecurity, distress and seeking when health care has no space or language for it? We depart from state of the art in secularization theory, suggesting secularization does not remove existential, spiritual and religious needs, but that such needs are to be seen as fundamental aspects of human being and suffering. From this theoretical vantage point we present Scandinavian social science research that portrays the complex impact secularization has on spiritual care. We present recommendations on how to conduct research in secular culture using The Meaning-Making Matrix as a heuristic, theoretical and practical tool, ending with reflections on what implications the research should have for spiritual care in secular culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpirituality, Religiousness and Health : From Research to Clinical Practice
EditorsGiancarlo Lucchetti, Mario Fernando Prieto Peres, Rodolfo Furlan Damiano
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9783030212209
ISBN (Electronic)9783030212216
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesReligion, Spirituality and Health: A Social Scientific Approach


  • Communication
  • Existential needs
  • Faith and health
  • Religious needs
  • Secularization
  • Spiritual care


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