Absence, indifference to, rejection of or hostility towards religion / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Irreligion is the neglect or active rejection of religion. Whether it is distinct from lack of religion is disputed. The Encyclopedia of religion and society defines it as the "rejection of religion in general or any of its more specific organized forms, as distinct from absence of religion";[1] while the Oxford English dictionary defines it as want of religion; hostility to or disregard of religious principles; irreligious conduct;[2] and the Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as "neglectful of religion : lacking religious emotions, doctrines, or practices".[3]

Irreligion takes many forms, ranging from the casual and unaware to full-fledged philosophies such as atheism and agnosticism, secular humanism and antitheism. Social scientists[who?] tend to define irreligion as a purely naturalist worldview that excludes a belief in anything supernatural. The broadest and loosest definition, serving as an upper limit, is the lack of religious identification, though many non-identifiers express metaphysical and even religious beliefs. The narrowest and strictest is subscribing to positive atheism.

According to the Pew Research Center's 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world's population does not identify with any religion.[4] The population of the religiously unaffiliated, sometimes referred to as "nones", has grown significantly in recent years.[5] Measurement of irreligiosity requires great cultural sensitivity, especially outside the West, where the concepts of "religion" or "the secular" are not always rooted in local culture.[6]