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Enttraditionalisierung (Germ., ‘detraditionalization’). The phenomenon of the erosion of tradition in society in general and in religion in particular. Tradition has been a strong source of constraint and order, since religions are systems which protect information (both verbal and non-verbal) which has been tested through millennia and has proved effective (i.e. effective in relation to goals, some of which are set by evolution and natural selection at one extreme, others of which are set by ultimate attainments, such as the beatific vision or nirvāna at the other). The endorsement of individual choice and responsibility in democratic societies (which have had dominant economic power, and have thus increasingly made choice realizable), followed far more recently by the revolution in communications, has threatened and eroded the security of traditional boundaries which hitherto have protected (and often coerced) the transmission of information from one generation to another.

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