The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality / Edition 1

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Overview

This book presents findings from a major research project designed to chart the state of religion and spirituality today. Though it finds little to support more extreme claims of change, it discovers that spiritualities which engage with the depths of personal experience are faring far better than religions that demand conformity to higher truth. These developments are explained by drawing attention to the significance of a 'subjective turn' in the wider culture - whereby conformity to external obligations becomes less important than sensitivity to inner life and wellbeing.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In the aftermath of the recent U.S. presidential election, the media hit upon a key issue to which the outcome was directly attributed: moral values. Much ado was made of the sudden solidarity of these influential "values voters," whose behavior starkly belied dire predictions of advancing secularism. Does this indicate that traditional religions are indeed flourishing? Not according to Heelas and his coauthors (all Univ. of Lancaster, Great Britain). They suggest that a different kind of spiritual revolution is transpiring in Western culture, as evidenced by the experiential spirituality that has crept into commerce, healthcare, and the media. Methodical research in a single British town suggests that subjectivization is significantly affecting membership of traditional institutions; those not adapting to this need are showing signs of decline and attrition. The authors do not deny the evidence for secularization but contend that it exists paradoxically alongside one for sacralization. Ultimately, they predict that if holism continues to spread with its present vigor, a spiritual revolution will undoubtedly occur in the near future. Appropriate for college and institutional library collections as well as large public libraries.-Dina Komuves, Collingswood, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"This is an important book that should be read by anyone concerned with the future of religion in this country. I say this for two reasons: first, because it tells us new things about the nature of religious activity in Britain; and second, because the authors offer an interesting interpretation of their data, drawing from innovative theoretical insights." Church Times

“It is clear that this book, with the distinctions it introduces and its daring central thesis, is a major contribution to the current debate. The careful way in which the authors develop their argument step by step, taking into account possible objections, is admirable.” Journal of Contemporary Religion

"Is Britain undergoing a seismic cultural shift with New Age forms of spirituality set to overtake traditional Christian expressions? That's the fundamental question explored in depth by two leading researchers into religious life in Britain today. Their landmark book ... sets out their findings with back-up evidence from studies worldwide. It raises key issues for all concerned for the future of Christianity in Britain." The Baptist Times

"Clearly, this book written by leading sociologists of religion, is a must for anyone interested in sociology, alternative spirituality and Christian studies, and will be made reference to in many forthcoming researches. I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in this field of study to read the book as it highlights current research findings as well as breaks new ground in sociology of religion." Australian Religious Studies Review

"This book explores the significance for contemporary religion and spirituality of the subjective turn in modern culture. To understand this, we need both careful empirical research and constant reflection on our categories. Heelas and Woodhead supply both in generous measure." Charles Taylor, McGill University

"This well-researched and cogently argued study offers a challenging diagnosis of the spiritual condition of present-day Britain. It will be hotly debated by sociologists, theologians, and all those interested in the future of religion and spirituality." Hugh McLeod, University of Birmingham

"The Spiritual Revolution provides a much-needed survey and theoretical synthesis of research on religious involvement, particularly in Great Britain and the United States … The result is a much more nuanced and productive account of religious change than the usual secularization versus sacralization approach." Penny Marler, Samford University

"A book such as this, whose contributors understand the shades of grey and are able to provide a critique of the religious fanaticism and extremism (on all sides) that has given the rise to so much of the controversy surrounding The Passion, should be essential reading in schools and universities everywhere." Chris Deacy, University of Kent

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul Heelas is Professor in Religion and Modernity and Linda Woodhead is Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies, both in the Department of Religious Studies at Lancaster University, UK. They have written extensively on religion and spirituality in the modern world.

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Table of Contents

1 Distinguishing religion and spirituality : findings from Kendal 12
2 Testing the spiritual revolution claim in Kendal 33
3 Evidence for a spiritual revolution : Britain and USA 49
4 Bringing the sacred to life : explaining sacralization and secularization 77
5 Looking to the future 129
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