After Heaven Spirituality in America since the 1950s

ISBN-10: 0520222288

ISBN-13: 9780520222281

Edition: 2005

Authors: Robert Wuthnow

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Description:

The evolution of American spirituality over the past fifty years is the subject of Robert Wuthnow's engrossing new book. Wuthnow uses in-depth interviews and a broad range of resource materials to show how Americans, from teenagers to senior citizens, define their spiritual journeys. His findings are a telling reflection of the changes in beliefs and lifestyles that have occurred throughout the United States in recent decades. Wuthnow reconstructs the social and cultural reasons for an emphasis on a spirituality ofdwelling(houses of worship, denominations, neighborhoods) during the 1950s. Then in the 1960s a spirituality ofseekingbegan to emerge, leading individuals to go beyond established religious institutions. In subsequent chapters Wuthnow examines attempts to reassert spiritual discipline, encounters with the sacred (such as angels and near-death experiences), and the development of the "inner self." His final chapter discusses a spirituality ofpractice, an alternative for people who are uncomfortable within a single religious community and who want more than a spirituality of endless seeking. The diversity of contemporary American spirituality comes through in the voices of the interviewees. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Native Americans are included, as are followers of occult practices, New Age religions, and other eclectic groups. Wuthnow also notes how politicized spirituality, evangelical movements, and resources such as Twelve-Step programs and mental health therapy influence definitions of religious life today. Wuthnow's landmark book,The Restructuring of American Religion(1988), documented the changes in institutional religion in the United States; nowAfter Heavenexplains the changes in personal spirituality that have come to shape our religious life. Moreover, it is a compelling and insightful guide to understanding American culture at century's end.
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Book details

List price: $31.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 6/20/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 286
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.220
Language: English

Robert Wuthnow, a native of Kansas, teaches sociology and directs the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. He is the author of many books about American religion and culture, including "Remaking the Heartland: Middle America since the 1950s" and "Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future" (both Princeton).

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