This book offers a mature assessment of themes preoccupying David Martin over some fifty years, complementing his book On Secularization. Deploying secularisation as an omnibus word bringing many dimensions into play, Martin argues that the boundaries of the concept of secularisation must not be redefined simply to cover aberrant cases, as when the focus was more on America as an exception rather than on Europe as an exception to the 'furiously religious' character of the rest of the world. Particular themes of focus include the dialectic of Christianity and secularization, the relation of Christianity to multiple enlightenments and modes of modernity, the enigmas of East Germany and Eastern Europe, and the rise of the transnational religious voluntary association, including Pentecostalism, as that feeds into vast religious changes in the developing world. Doubts are cast on the idea that religion has ever been privatised and has lately reentered the public realm. The rest of the book deals with the relation of the Christian repertoire to the nexus of religion and politics, including democracy and violence and sharply criticises polemical assertions of a special relation of religion to violence, and explores the contributions of 'cognitive science' to the debate
Deploying secularisation as an omnibus word bringing many dimensions into play, this work argues that the boundaries of the concept must not be redefined simply to cover aberrant cases, as when the focus was more on America as an exception rather than on Europe as an exception to the 'furiously religious' character of the rest of the world.
Contents: Sources; Part 1 Secularization and the Future of Christianity: Introduction: Christianity and the world, the religious and the secular; Secularization and the future of Catholicism and Protestantism; Master narratives and the future of Christianity; Pentecostalism: transnational voluntarism in the global religious economy; Has secularization gone into reverse?; Religious responses to modes of secularism; Science and secularization. Part 2 Case Studies of Secularization: An Eastern European pattern of secularization?; East Germany: the world's most secular society. Part 3 Religion and Politics; Democracy and Violence: The religious and the political; Christianity, violence and democracy; Protestantism and democracy; Multiple ironies and necessary paradoxes: a review of religion, fanaticism and violence; Indexes.
'It is a pleasure to see how David Martin in his new book punctures the certainties about religion and secularization that continue to flow from the mouths of many in the media and even the academy by showing the ironies and paradoxes that everywhere lie beneath such generalizations. Martin remains close to the ground in examining the enormous variety of developments not only within nation-states but within continents in the changing configurations of the sacred and the secular with respect to organized religion, democracy, violence and modernity itself. He gives us a sobering education about the realities beneath the slogans, whatever we might think about the realities he discloses.' Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley, USA 'This is required reading. Martin breaks new ground with respect to the place of religion in the modern world. He is critical, however, of unqualified assertions that God is 'back'. Instead he returns repeatedly to the careful analyses of the secularization process that he established some forty years ago. Such an approach remains as apposite as ever.' Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK 'David Martin is the great pioneer of a political sociology of religion. His historical erudition and global perspective, his healthy scepticism regarding premature generalizations and his sharp tongue make this collection of his recent essays a goldmine of insight and a pleasurable reading.' Hans Joas, Director of the Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt, and University of Chicago, USA 'This new volume contains a collection of lectures and articles - published and unpublished - with an introductory chapter indicating how they fit together... A great strength of this book is that otherwise inaccessible material is now made available to a wider readership, all of it reshaped and rewritten in such a way as to form a more or less coherent argument throughout.' Church Times '[Martin] writes out of tremendous experience in the so
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