Faith in a Pluralist Age

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Kaye V. Cook
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Cascade Books
    , March
     154 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Most academics agree with Peter Berger that pluralism theory appears more accurate than secularization theory in accounting for the societal changes that accompany modernization. Yet Berger’s earlier book Many Altars of Modernity gives limited attention to the implications of the pluralist paradigm for religious discourse, in particular for evangelicals. According to Berger—who wrote the first chapter in this book—while pluralism leads to less certainty about faith and creates “secular spaces,” it also, more positively, clarifies the importance of trust in God, highlights the nature of religious institutions as voluntary associations rather than birth rights, and challenges Christians to know what they believe in. Subsequent chapters respond to the first. Four responses are theoretical (e.g., challenging the concept of secular spaces, exploring social constructionism) and four are contextual (e.g., describing anti-pluralist forces in India, challenging feminists to pluralism, examining women’s responses to pluralism, and exploring values in Brazil and China). The ideas are easily accessible to the lay reader and are intended to initiate a much-needed conversation about the implications of pluralist theory.  We conclude that pluralism is challenging for Christian faith but, as Peter Berger says, in most ways it is “good for you.”

With contributions from:

Peter Berger
Bruce Wearne 
Roger Olson 
Paul Brink
James Skillen 
Tal Howard
Ruth Groenhout 
Ruth Melkonian-Hoover 
Si-Hua Chang
Taylor-Marie Funchion

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Kaye V. Cook is Professor of Psychology at Gordon College in Wenham, MA.  She is the author of Man and Woman, Alone and Together (1992) and Chaotic Eating: A Guide to Recovery (1992).


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