The Churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy

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9780813535531: The Churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy
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Although many Americans assume that religious participation has declined in America, Finke and Stark present a different picture. In 1776, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans were active in church affairs. Today, church membership includes about 6 out of 10 people.

But, as Finke and Stark show, not all denominations benefited. They explain how and why the early nineteenth-century churches began their descent, while two newcomer sects, the Baptists and the Methodists, gained ground. They also analyze why the Methodists then began a long, downward slide, why the Baptists continued to succeed, how the Catholic Church met the competition of ardent Protestant missionaries, and why the Catholic commitment has declined since Vatican II. The authors also explain why ecumenical movements always fail

In short, Americans are not abandoning religion; they have been moving away from established denominations. A "church-sect process" is always under way, Finke and Stark argue, as successful churches lose their organizational vigor and are replaced by less worldly groups.

Some observers assert that the rise in churching rates indicates increased participation, not increased belief. Finke and Stark challenge this as well. They find that those groups that have gained the greatest numbers have demanded that their followers accept traditional doctrines and otherworldliness. They argue that religious organizations can thrive only when they comfort souls and demand sacrifice. When theology becomes too logical, or too secular, it loses people.

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About the Author:

Roger Finke is a professor of sociology and religious studies at the Pennsylvania State University and serves as the director of the American Religion Data Archive. Rodney Stark was for many years professor of sociology and comparative religion at the University of Washington. In 2004 he became University Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University.

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Book Description Rutgers University Press, United States, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised and Expanded. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In The Churching of America, 1776-2005 Roger Finke and Rodney Stark once again revolutionize the way we think about religion in America. Extending the argument that the nation s religious environment acts as a free market economy, this extensively revised and expanded edition offers new research, statistics, and stories that document increased participation in religious groups in the twenty-first century. Adding to the thorough coverage of mainline religious groups, new chapters chart the remarkable development and growth of African American churches from the early nineteenth century forward. Finke and Stark show how, like other upstart sects, these churches openly competed for adherents and demonstrate how American norms of religious freedom allowed African American churches to construct organizational havens with little outside intervention. This edition also includes new sections on the ethnic religious communities of recent immigrants - stories that echo those told of ethnic religious enclaves in the nineteenth century. Bringing together timely new information and evidence, this provocative book insists, more than ever, on a major reevaluation of established ideas about American religious institutions. Written with lively prose, it will stir debate within church and academic communities, as well as among laypersons interested in the history of religion in America. Seller Inventory # AAV9780813535531

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