Notions of Evil, the Devil and Sin among Chilean businessmen

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On the basis of interview material with businessmen and managers from the 13 largest economic conglomerates in Chile, the author presents the conceptions of evil, the Devil and sin among modern individuals. The evidence of beliefs in the supernatural (in miracles and the existence of a personified Devil) alongside rationalized and non-traditional understandings of sin is used to criticize secularization theory and its assumption that religious belief and modern rationality are incompatible. The argument is made that changes in the language utilized to refer to the sacred and the supernatural (such as the abandoning of traditional imagery to speak of the Devil and Hell), which are proper to the religious parlance of contemporary educated individuals, do not imply the end of belief. Most important, rather than concentrate on the degrees of secularization found in a society the focus should be placed on the specific shapes adopted by religious belief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-632
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Compass
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • Chile
  • Devil
  • Evil
  • Secularization
  • Sin
  • Supernatural


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