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God is Dead: Secularization in the West

ISBN: 978-0-631-23275-9
288 pages
April 2002, Wiley-Blackwell
God is Dead: Secularization in the West (0631232753) cover image
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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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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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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  • Offers a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of secularization, explaining clearly what the debate entails.

  • Draws on a diverse range of international examples, including Scottish fishermen, Virginian fundamentalists and Russian serfs.

  • Topics covered include religion and politics in the USA, the significance of New Age spirituality, the influence of eastern religions on the West, and the future of religion.

  • Discusses the work of Weber, Durkheim, Berger and Wilson, and elaborates on what they thought was happening to religion in the West.

  • Written by an internationally-known and widely respected sociologist of religion.

  • God is Dead offers an original and balanced overview of this key debate.
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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)

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