Posts Tagged ‘millennials’

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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Why are millennials leaving the church? Whose church?

Monday, July 29th, 2013 by Dale M. Coulter

g9510.20_Millennials.CoverAfter seeing it shared more times than I wanted on Facebook, I finally decided to read Rachel Held Evans’ CNN post, even though I’m not that keen on recent efforts to define generations of human beings before they have lived most of their existence. I myself have never really fit the descriptions of Generation X.

At their best such descriptions point one in a direction like someone saying, “have you seen my dog? He’s black and brown and medium-sized.” They give you some generic descriptions, but that’s about it. At their worst, they trade in stereo types or labels that then get perpetuated. “You’re a millennial, Oh, you MUST be like this!” Just ask those who reacted to Joel Stein’s portrait of millennials in TIME.

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