Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening

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Diana Butler Bass, one of contemporary Christianity’s leading trend-spotters, exposes how the failings of the church today are giving rise to a new “spiritual but not religious” movement. Using evidence from the latest national polls and from her own cutting-edge research, Bass, the visionary author of A People’s History of Christianity, continues the conversation began in books like Brian D. McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity and Harvey Cox’s The Future of Faith, examining the connections—and the divisions—between theology, practice, and community that Christians experience today. Bass’s clearly worded, powerful, and probing Christianity After Religion is required reading for anyone invested in the future of Christianity.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062003747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062003744
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces

Customer Reviews

Explains what’s happening in Christianity, and all religions, today

10 people found this helpful.
 on July 23, 2012
By Gettysburg Farm
Bass’s book is really helpful in explaining where our nation is currently in Christianity, esp in the US, but also around the world in other religions. I was especially intrigued by her discussion of the great awakenings, and how the one we saw from 1960 to 1980 was interrupted by a fear-based fundamentalism (’75-95′) that was erroneously considered an awakening but was actually a reaction against one. Although she speaks primarily about Protestantism in the book, her analysis mirrors the current dilemma of the Catholic Church perfectly. The Church was evolving during Vatican II and the reforms seen right after it, and then, with the last and current pope, has reverted back to a bizarre fundamentalism that is driving parishioners away in droves. The trouble is the “fundamentals” are not fundamental to Christian spirituality any more than terrorists are fundamental to Islam. They are mere dogma, words, political stances, protectionism. For a Christian surely fundamentals are how we treat one another, our experience of Christ. She says there is less war between religions and more inter-religious warfare within each faith between those who would move deeper into relationship with Christ and those who are reacting against the awakening. She says there is a current awakening starting in 1995 and that spiritual leaders today need to help transform people’s fear of change to urgency and courage. She gives practical advice about how to do that.

Christianity After Religion: The End of the Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening

3 people found this helpful.
 on May 30, 2012
By T. Eggebeen
Two words come to mind: honest and hopeful.

Prepare for a Fourth Christian Awakening

2 people found this helpful.
 on March 6, 2014
By Pastor Steve
Butler Bass acknowledges the worst, then points to hopeful possibilities for Christianity today. She shows how scandals about child abuse, unchristian scapegoating over homosexuality and more sectarian culture wars made the first decade of the 21st century “terrible” for organized religion in America. She recounts how most Americans have come to perceive churches negatively producing a “participation crash”. This fallout has affected congregations across the board from evangelical, fundamentalist through mainstream and charismatic. Then Butler Bass identifies a turning point towards a “Fourth Awakening” for Christianity. She reports that those who call themselves both “spiritual and religious” has shot up from 6% of Americans in 1999 to 48% in 2009. This shift means that nearly one of every two Americans would like to nurture their spirituality in the context of a healthy faith family. This can be a “Fourth Great Awakening” stirring to be born among Americans. Butler Bass continues to suggest how churches can move beyond stuckness in institutional religion to discover a connected spirtuality sustained in community. This reflects the original meaning of re-ligio, which means to “re-connect”. Through inclusively re-connecting communities, Christians can live more closely to the “love for God” experienced as “love of neighbor as of self” that is at the heart of Jesus “Way”. These freshly unfolding ways of living Christianity will relate to non-Christians as neighboring children of God. This book deserves to be required reading for all who seek to live fruitful lives of faith in America today.

thought- provoking

One person found this helpful.
 on March 8, 2014
By Sharon Nale
I have to admit, I fought hard and long against much of what Butler-Bass presented here. But I also found chunks of food, nutritious chapters and paragraphs that fed me. I was anxious to complete the book,for one reason, because it will have been the first book I’ve completed since the death of my husband two years ago! Not a good reason I admit, but it kept me going during the “lean” days when I didn’t feel fed at all. By the end of the book, especially that last chapter, for some unknown reason, I was moved to tears. I still cannot fully understand, except that the vision she created of what we can do to participate in awakening, to celebrate it and realize it, well, her description was the most beautiful description of a hoped-for community of Christians that I have ever read. I am a lay person, and we are reading this in our adult forum during the Sunday School hour, hoping to clarify our vision for mission and move into the future.

this is the one we’ve been waiting for

5 people found this helpful.
 on July 11, 2012
By Anne S. Howard
If I could give one book to my friends, within and outside the church, this is it . This is the book that names this “awakening” in which we find ourselves. Much has been written in the last decade or so about the changing scene but this is the one that gives us some clear historical data, and a cogent interpretation of that data. I imagine many in the institutional church will fear this book, which is one reason it’s so important. This is about the revival of Spirit in our times, and the locus of revival doesn’t look quite like your grandfather’s tent. These are not easy times, but now, after reading Diana’s newest, and I believe very best book, I am filled with new hope.

Her style of writing is written like a conversation with a friend

 on July 22, 2017
By Betty Greer Caldwell
This is a very enlightening and thought provoking book. Her style of writing is written like a conversation with a friend. Concepts are very well explained and well supported. Big fan of this book!

A Challenge to be heard

2 people found this helpful.
 on April 13, 2012
By David J. Lowry
This book is a challenge that needs to be heard by the Church and its people. For too long the church as an organisation has tried to control its congregations with programs and statements that were supposed to revive the Church. The church’s attempt to control the call of ministers in Australia is a classic example of seeking to provide jobs for its clergy.

Sleeper Awake!

3 people found this helpful.
 on September 17, 2014
By James J. Prendergast
Diana Butler Bass has written an amazing book. It is one thing to write history,another to describe contemporary trends, still another to do sociological analysis, still another to argue for change. However, Diana Butler Bass does it all in this small volume in a most compelling way.

Bass tells all

3 people found this helpful.
 on February 13, 2015
By Richard Mcknight
Very, very interesting reading. She writes very well and knows her subject. Religion is in decline, she notes, but spirituality is in ascendancy. What is the evidence? What are the implications? Bass tells all!

Bass–a good read for the seeking soul

2 people found this helpful.
 on June 13, 2014
By Anthony Wood
Bass has captured on paper that which many of us have been experiencing w God in his kingdom for many years–the soul of the new spirituality movement found in those of us who no longer depend on, or really ever have depended upon, institutional Christianity to truly know God. Bass, in a no-bash approach regarding institutional Christianity, gives hope to many seeking God in less traditional ways yet which are in the tradition of good theology. Thank you!

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