In this defence of the secularization paradigm, Bruce elaborates just what Weber, Durkheim, Berger and Wilson thought was happening to religion in the West, and responds to critics of this concept. Topics covered include new age spirituality, and the influence of Eastern religions.
God is Dead: Secularization in the West by Steve Bruce
Christianity in the democracies of the 'first' world has been declining in power, popularity and prestige for a century. However, many commentators, social scientists as well as church leaders, try and minimize the extent of this change. They maintain that religious sentiment remains strong despite declining levels of church involvement, and insist that secularization is an academic myth. In this robust defense of the secularization paradigm, Bruce elaborates just what Weber, Durkheim, Berger and Wilson thought was happening to religion in the West, and responds to critics of this concept. Specific topics covered include the significance of New Age spirituality, the influence of eastern religions on the West, the impact of science, the charismatic movement, religion and politics in the USA, and the future of religion. Bruce concludes the old orthodoxy was right: cultural diversity, in egalitarian and liberal democracies that place the individual above the community, undermines religious belief. Drawing on a diverse range of international examples, and written by one of the foremost sociologists of religion working today, God is Dead moves the debate about secularization forward. It will be an invaluable resource for students of sociology of religion, modern religion, Christianity, new religious movements and religion and culture.
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'Steve Bruce's book has all the hallmarks of his work: clarity, verve, graphic illustration and common sense. The argument is Bruce's cumulative statement of the secularization theme, bringing the various elements together in an impressive synthesis, as well as building in counter-arguments, such as those to do with the role of religion in ethnic solidarity. Within its own terms and specific context - western liberal democracies, and especially Europe - it is difficult to refute.'--David Martin, London School of Economics "Bruce's book is a compelling, vigorous and scrupulously fair defense of what the secularization paradigm means and does not mean. Highly recommended." (Library Journal) "The sooner churches face up to Bruce's thesis, the better." (Ministry Today) "Readable, debatable, and full of important insights on everything from the failure of New Age religions to a cautious defense of the golden age of religion thesis, it is a book that all libraries should own. No serious (or even casual) student of religion can afford to neglect it." (Choice) "...the pace and style of Bruce's narrative, the crispness and clarity of his argument, and his frequent digs at aspects of the contemporary mood...make God is Dead a truly entertaining and enlightening book." --Michael Rosie (British Sociological Association Network Magazine) "Readable, debatable, and full of important insights on everything from the failure of New Age religions to a cautious defense of the golden age of religion thesis, it is a book that all libraries should own. No serious (or even casual) student of religion can afford to neglect it." (Choice) "This book is exactly what the back cover claims: a robust defense of the secularization thesis...The writing and the presentation are both concise and clear, offering a resource that students will cherish." (Theology) "[T]his volume is a welcome resource for teachers/scholars interested in current theoretical disputes in the sociology of religion as well as students of the religious change in particular cultures of the West." (Religious Studies Review) "[T]he pace and style of Bruce's narrative, the crispness and clarity of his argument, and his frequent digs at aspects of the contemporary mood...make God is Dead a truly entertaining and enlightening book." (BSA Network)
About Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce is the Professor of Sociology and Head of Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. He has also held visiting posts at the universities of Virginia and Edinburgh. He is one of the world's leading sociologists of religion and and has published 13 books and over 90 articles. The following are his most recent books: Pray TV: Televangelism in America (1990), Religion in Modern Britian (1995), Religion in the Modern World (1996), Conservative Protestant Politics (1998), Sociology: A Very Short Introduction (1999), Choice and Religion (1999), Fundamentalism (Polity, 2001).
Table of Contents
Figures.Tables.Preface.Acknowledgements.1. The Secularization Paradigm.2. The Golden Age of Faith.3. God is Dead: Christianity in Britain.4. The Failure of the New Age.5. Science and Secularization.6. The Easternization of the West.7. Regression to the Mean.8. Subsistence Religion.9. The Charismatic Movement and Secularization.10. Discovering Religion: Mistakes of Method.11. Religion in the United States.12. Postmodernism and the Religious Revival.Notes.References.Index.
God is Dead: Secularization in the West by Steve Bruce
Religion and Spirituality in the Modern World
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John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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