Archive for August, 2013

Secularization, the “Nones,” and the Reigning Paradigm of American Religious History

Monday, August 5th, 2013 by Dale M. Coulter


I think what I and most other sociologists of religion wrote in the 1960s about secularization was a mistake. Our underlying argument was that secularization and modernity go hand in hand. With more modernization comes more secularization. It wasn’t a crazy theory. There was some evidence for it. But I think it’s basically wrong. Most of the world today is certainly not secular. It’s very religious. So is the U.S. The one exception to this is Western Europe. One of the most interesting questions in the sociology of religion today is not, How do you explain fundamentalism in Iran? but, Why is Western Europe different? Peter Berger

While this quotation is from a 1997 interview in Christian Century, Berger’s comments still resonate with the current situation, especially in light of a new book by another sociologist of religion, Rodney Stark. In America’s Blessing Stark attempts to sever any strong link between pluralism and secularization by arguing that competition among religions or even different forms of the same religion increases religious commitment rather than decreasing it. This secondary claim of the book reinforces Stark’s primary claim that strong religious commitment has a positive benefit on society in general.


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“Train up a Child in the Way [S]/He Should Go:” Reflections on the Urban Youth Summer Academy 2013

Sunday, August 4th, 2013 by Antipas Harris

UYSA photo boyProverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way [s]/he should go; even when [s]/he is old he will not depart from it.”

“Training” is a broad term. Regent University Summer Urban Youth Academy takes “training” seriously. According to the United States Department of Education, “One out of every four students that walks through the schoolhouse doors on the first day of their freshmen year in high school will not graduate with their classmates, if at all. In minority communities, the numbers are even bleaker—it is closer to one out of every two. Every year, that’s 1.2 million students giving up. That’s a student dropping out every 26 seconds.” As I ponder these statistics, the passage in Proverbs gains epochal focus on the blight on early education in our country. Read the rest of this entry »

Living and Active: Renewing Evangelical Theologies of Scripture in the 21st-Century

Thursday, August 1st, 2013 by Amos Yong

biblical scholarsThere are at least two sides to this question about the relationship between evangelicalism and the modern study of scripture. On the one hand, how to navigate the fine line between historical-grammatical approaches and historical-critical perspectives? Most evangelicals are comfortable with the former while some are concerned about the latter because it leads to skepticism and presumes to undermine the authority of scripture. The posture of faith suggests that Christian readers and interpreters, no matter how learned, ought to approach the Bible in a submissive rather than critical stance. The historical-grammatical study of scripture is helpful for such servant-readings of the Bible since it helps the community of faith understand the world behind the text better, which in turn illuminates the world of the text by providing assistance in discerning an original intent of the scriptural authors. Thereby, readers are edified when they understand the biblical text in its original context. Read the rest of this entry »