American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 16, 1998 - Religion - 310 pages
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Evangelicalism is one of the strongest religious traditions in America today; 20 million Americans identify themselves with the evangelical movement. Given the modern pluralistic world we live in, why is evangelicalism so popular?

Based on a national telephone survey and more than three hundred personal interviews with evangelicals and other churchgoing Protestants, this study provides a detailed analysis of the commitments, beliefs, concerns, and practices of this thriving group. Examining how evangelicals interact with and attempt to influence secular society, this book argues that traditional, orthodox evangelicalism endures not despite, but precisely because of, the challenges and structures of our modern pluralistic environment. This work also looks beyond evangelicalism to explore more broadly the problems of traditional religious belief and practice in the modern world.

With its impressive empirical evidence, innovative theory, and substantive conclusions, American Evangelicalism will provoke lively debate over the state of religious practice in contemporary America.
 

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American evangelicalism: embattled and thriving

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Smith (sociology, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) has given us an excellent study of evangelicalism, "which enjoys a religious vitality--measured sociologically--that surpasses every other major ... Read full review

Contents

Resurrecting Engaged Orthodoxy
1
Evangelicalism Thriving
20
Explaining Religious Vitality in America
67
Toward a Subcultural Identity Theory of Religious Strength
89
Evangelicalism Embattled
120
Excursus Belief Plausibility in Modern America
154
Ironies of Subcultural Distinction Strength and Ineffectiveness
178
Conclusion
218
Research Methods
221
On Religious Identities
233
Interview Guides
248
Telephone Survey
258
References
291
Index
305
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About the author (1998)

Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, and director of the Center for Social Research at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers and Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture.

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