God is Dead
Secularization in the West
This item is available to order.
Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
Paperback / softback
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Number of Pages: 288
Width: 15.7 cm
Height: 23.1 cm
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.
'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)