God is Dead: Secularization in the West / Edition 1

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Overview

Drawing on an international range of examples, Steve Bruce offers a comprehensive and up-to-date defence of the secularisation debate.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'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)

Library Journal
Challenging "supply-side" proponents of the enduring vitality of religious belief in the modern world, Bruce (Univ. of Aberdeen; Religion in the Modern World) proclaims that religious "decline is not a sociological myth." The stress in the title should go on the word is: the data show that God really is dead, despite God's vestigial survival as a nostalgic relic or nebulous aid to self-realization. Modernization has caused religion to change in such ways that it has lost its social significance. As Bruce argues, "Individualism, diversity and egalitarianism in the context of liberal democracy undermine the authority of religious beliefs," making belief in God a personal option rather than a compelling necessity. Opponents to the secularization argument (chiefly Rodney Stark) point to the strength of religion in America. But under secularization, "It is not self-conscious irreligion that is important," Bruce writes. "It is indifference." Sociological research increasingly points to a growing cultural indifference to the supernatural and the exclusive truth claims of religion. Bruce's book is a compelling, vigorous, and scrupulously fair defense of what the secularization paradigm means and does not mean. Highly recommended for all libraries. Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

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 has recently been elected a Fellow of the British Academy.
Professor Bruce has published 13 books and over 90 articles. The following are his most recent books: Pray TV: Televangelism in America (1990), Religion in Modern Britain (1995), Religion in the Modern World (1996), Conservative Protestant Politics (1998), Sociology: A Very Short Introduction (1999), Choice and Religion (1999), Fundamentalism (Polity, 2001), and Politics and Religion (Polity, 2003).

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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.

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