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How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion
Much has been written about the profound impact the post-World War II baby boomers had on American religion. But the lifestyles and beliefs of the generation that has followed--and the influence these younger Americans in their twenties and thirties are having on the face of religion--are not so well understood. It is this next wave of post-boomers that Robert Wuthnow examines in this illuminating book.
What are their churchgoing habits and spiritual interests and needs? How does their faith affect their families, their communities, and their politics? Interpreting new evidence from scores of in-depth interviews and surveys, Wuthnow reveals a generation of younger adults who, unlike the baby boomers that preceded them, are taking their time establishing themselves in careers, getting married, starting families of their own, and settling down--resulting in an estimated six million fewer regular churchgoers. He shows how the recent growth in evangelicalism is tapering off, and traces how biblical literalism, while still popular, is becoming less dogmatic and more preoccupied with practical guidance. At the same time, Wuthnow explains how conflicts between religious liberals and conservatives continue--including among new immigrant groups such as Hispanics and Asians--and how in the absence of institutional support many post-boomers have taken a more individualistic, improvised approach to spirituality. Wuthnow's fascinating analysis also explores the impacts of the Internet and so-called virtual churches, and the appeal of megachurches.
After the Baby Boomers offers us a tantalizing look at the future of American religion for decades to come.
Theology, Philosophy, and the Question of Life After Death
In After We Die, philosopher Stephen T. Davis subjects one of Christianity’s key beliefs—that Christians not only will survive death but also will enjoy bodily resurrection—to searching philosophical analysis. Facing each critique squarely, Davis contends that traditional, historic belief about the eschatological future is philosophically defensible. Davis examines personal extinction, reincarnation, and immortality of the soul. By juxtaposing two systems of salvation—reincarnation/karma and resurrection/grace—Davis explores the Christian claim that humans will be raised from the dead, as well as the radical Christian assertions of Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and long-anticipated return. Davis finally addresses Christian thinking about heaven, hell, and purgatory. The philosophical defense of Christianity’s core beliefs enables Davis to render a reasonable answer to the eternal question of what happens to us after we die. After We Die is essential reading for teachers and students of philosophy, theology, and Bible, as well as anyone interested in a reasoned analysis of historic Christian faith, particularly as it pertains to the inevitable end of each and every human being.
The Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages
Simultaneously real and unreal, the dead are people, yet they are not. The society of medieval Europe developed a rich set of imaginative traditions about death and the afterlife, using the dead as a point of entry for thinking about the self, regeneration, and loss. These macabre preoccupations are evident in the widespread popularity of stories about the returned dead, who interacted with the living both as disembodied spirits and as living corpses or revenants. In Afterlives, Nancy Mandeville Caciola explores this extraordinary phenomenon of the living's relationship with the dead in Europe during the five hundred years after the year 1000.
Caciola considers both Christian and pagan beliefs, showing how certain traditions survived and evolved over time, and how attitudes both diverged and overlapped through different contexts and social strata. As she shows, the intersection of Christian eschatology with various pagan afterlife imaginings—from the classical paganisms of the Mediterranean to the Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, and Scandinavian paganisms indigenous to northern Europe—brought new cultural values about the dead into the Christian fold as Christianity spread across Europe. Indeed, the Church proved surprisingly open to these influences, absorbing new images of death and afterlife in unpredictable fashion. Over time, however, the persistence of regional cultures and beliefs would be counterbalanced by the effects of an increasingly centralized Church hierarchy. Through it all, one thing remained constant: the deep desire in medieval people to bring together the living and the dead into a single community enduring across the generations.
In Against Julian Augustine stresses in the first two books the traditional teachings of the Church found in the Fathers and contrasts their teaching with the rationalism of the Pelagians
In The Age of Reformation, first published in 1955, E. Harris Harbison shows why sixteenth-century Europe was ripe for a catharsis. New political and social factors were at work-the growth of the middle classes, the monetary inflation resulting from an influx of gold from the New World, the invention of printing, the trend toward centralization of political power. Against these developments, Harbison places the church, nearly bankrupt because of the expense of defending the papal states, supporting an elaborate administrative organization and luxurious court, and financing the crusades. The Reformation, as he shows, was the result of "a long, slow shifting of social conditions and human values to which the church was not responding readily enough. The sheer inertia of an enormous and complex organization, the drag of powerful vested interests, the helplessness of individuals with intelligent schemes of reform-this is what strikes the historian in studying the church of the later Middle Ages."
Martin Luther, a devout and forceful monk, sought only to cleanse the church of its abuses and return to the spiritual guidance of the Scriptures. But, as it turned out, western Christendom split into two camps-a division as stirring, as fearful, as portentous to the sixteenth-century world as any in Europe's history. Offering an engaging and accessible introductory history of the Reformation, Harbison focuses on the age's key individuals, institutions, and ideas while at the same time addressing the slower, less obvious tides of social and political change. A classic and long out-of-print synthesis of earlier generations of historical scholarship on the Reformation told with clarity and drama, this book concisely traces the outlines, interlocked and interwoven as they were, of the various phases that comprised the "Age of Reformation."
When first published in 1928, The Age of the Gods was hailed as the best short account of what is known of pre-historic man and culture. In it, Christopher Dawson synthesized modern scholarship on human cultures in Europe and the East from the Stone Age to the beginnings of the Iron Age.
John Wesley and the Foundations of Christian Belief
In his day, John Wesley offered important insights on how to obtain knowledge of God that readily bears fruit in our own times. As premiere Wesleyan scholar William Abraham shows, Wesley's most famous spiritual experience is rife with philosophical significance and implications. Throughout, Abraham brings Wesley's works into fruitful conversation with some of the most important work in contemporary epistemology. Lyrically and succinctly he explores the simultaneous epistemological quest and spiritual pilgrimage that were central to Wesley and the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century. In so doing, he provides a learned and eye-opening meditation upon the relationship between reason and faith.
Self as Other in Early Christianity
Early Christians spoke about themselves as resident aliens, strangers, and sojourners, asserting that otherness is a fundamental part of being Christian. But why did they do so and to what ends? How did Christians' claims to foreign status situate them with respect to each other and to the larger Roman world as the new movement grew and struggled to make sense of its own boundaries?
Aliens and Sojourners argues that the claim to alien status is not a transparent one. Instead, Benjamin Dunning contends, it shaped a rich, pervasive, variegated discourse of identity in early Christianity. Resident aliens and foreigners had long occupied a conflicted space of both repulsion and desire in ancient thinking. Dunning demonstrates how Christians and others in antiquity capitalized on this tension, refiguring the resident alien as being of a compelling doubleness, simultaneously marginal and potent. Early Christians, he argues, used this refiguration to render Christian identity legible, distinct, and even desirable among the vast range of social and religious identities and practices that proliferated in the ancient Mediterranean.
Through close readings of ancient Christian texts such as Hebrews, 1 Peter, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Epistle to Diognetus, Dunning examines the markedly different ways that Christians used the language of their own marginality, articulating a range of options for what it means to be Christian in relation to the Roman social order. His conclusions have implications not only for the study of late antiquity but also for understanding the rhetorics of religious alienation more broadly, both in the ancient world and today.
Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage
All Abrahams Children is Armand L. Mausss long-awaited magnum opus on the evolution of traditional Mormon beliefs and practices concerning minorities. He examines how members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have defined themselves and others in terms of racial lineages. _x000B_Mauss describes a complex process of the broadening of these self-defined lineages during the last part of the twentieth century as the modern Mormon church continued its world-wide expansion through massive missionary work._x000B_Mauss contends that Mormon constructions of racial identity have not necessarily affected actual behavior negatively and that in some cases Mormons have shown greater tolerance than other groups in the American mainstream. _x000B_Employing a broad intellectual historical analysis to identify shifts in LDS behavior over time, All Abrahams Children is an important commentary on current models of Mormon historiography._x000B__x000B_