Secularization and Religious Innovation in the North Atlantic World

ISBN : 9780198798071

Hugh McLeod; David N. Hempton
432 ページ
153 x 234 mm

In the early twenty-first century it had become a cliche that there was a 'God Gap' between a more religious United States and a more secular Europe. The apparent religious differences between the United States and western Europe continue to be a focus of intense and sometimes bitter debate between three of the main schools in the sociology of religion. According to the influential 'Secularization Thesis', secularization has been an integral part of the processes of modernisation in the Western world since around 1800. For proponents of this thesis, the United States appears as an anomaly and they accordingly give considerable attention to explaining why it is different. For other sociologists, however, the apparently high level of religiosity in the USA provides a major argument in their attempts to refute the Thesis. Secularization and Religious Innovation in the Atlantic World provides a systematic comparison between the religious histories of the United States and western European countries from the eighteenth to the late twentieth century, noting parallels as well as divergences, examining their causes and especially highlighting change over time. This is achieved by a series of themes which seem especially relevant to this agenda, and in each case the theme is considered by two scholars. The volume examines whether American Christians have been more innovative, and if so how far this explains the apparent 'God Gap'. It goes beyond the simple American/European binary to ask what is 'American' or 'European' in the Christianity of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and in what ways national or regional differences outweigh these commonalities.


Hugh McLeod: Introduction

Part I: Church, State, and Money
1 Stewart J. Brown: The Established Churches and Secularization in Imperial Britain, c.1830-1930
2 Eric Baldwin: Religious Markets, Capital Markets, and Church Finances in Industrializing America

Part II: Evangelicalism
3 David Bebbington: Evangelicalism and Secularization in Britain and America from the 18th Century to the Present
4 Heather Curtis: Media and the Expansion of American Evangelicalism

Part III: Born in America
5 David Holland: The Enemy of my Enemy is sometimes somewhat Useful: The Complicated Relationship of New Religious Movements and Secularization
6 Colleen McDannell: Mormons, Materialism, and the Struggle against the Ideology of Separation

Part IV: Gender
7 Ann Braude: Women's History and Religious Innovation
8 Tine van Osselaer: Gendering Religion in Modern Europe
Part V: Popular Culture
9 Randall Stephens: Popular Culture and Pentecostalism: Comparing Britain and the United States
10 Hugh McLeod: Muscular Christianity: European and American

Part VI: World War, Cold War and Post-War Revival
11 Michael Snape: GI Religion and Post-War Revival in the United States
12 Uta Balbier: European Post-War Revival? US Evangelical Missionaries in Germany and the UK, 1945-55

Part VII: Catholicism in the Era of Vatican II
13 Wilhelm Damberg: Is there an American Exceptionalism? American and German Catholics in Comparison
14 Leslie Woodcock Tentler: How Exceptional? US Catholics since World War II

Part VIII: The 1970s and After
15 Kip Richardson: Of Numeracy and Necromancy: Church Growth in the Post-Secularization Era
16 Grace Davie: Religion, Territory, and Choice: Contrasting Configurations
17 Hugh McLeod: 'Religious America, Secular Europe': Are they really so different? If so, since when and why?
18 David N. Hempton: Small Differences and Differential Innovation: Secularization in Europe and the United States


David Hempton is Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies, and John Lord O'Brian Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School.; Hugh McLeod is Emeritus Professor of Church History at the University of Birmingham. He is a historian specializing in the religious history of 19th and 20th century. His publications include The Religious Crisis of the 1960s (2007) and Religion and the People of Western Europe 1789-1990, Second Edition (1997).