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

a unique opportunity to meet religion as it really is & is becoming

185 people found this helpful.
 on February 28, 2012
By Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith)
Most Americans are aware that recent decades have been a time of change in religious belief, behaving, and belonging. Most who read this blog have some knowledge of varying aspects of these shifts. Few people understand how the many trends are linked and fewer still grasp how this looks within the context of church history. Diana Butler Bass draws on her rich experiences as a researcher, consultant, subject matter expert, and perpetual student of the topic to craft a book that is sure to become the starting point for conversation in the academy, the church, and even in the many communities that together comprise our culture.

Insightful and practical!

92 people found this helpful.
 on February 17, 2012
By Jeff Jones
If I didn’t have a sermon to write I would have finished this one in one sitting. I’ve liked all of Diana’s book, but this one takes her to new territory and explores issues that are at the heart of what I’m about in ministry. The historical framework about awakenings she uses provides a helpful perspective on what is going on in the world today. It presents an incredible challenge to those of us, like myself, who have spent their lives in the church, but see the need now for something far different from what we have been and been about. It’s in no way a “how-to” book, but it is ultimately an extremely practical book – one that will provide the insight and perspective needed to work on the how-to’s in whatever setting we find ourselves.

worthwhile read

18 people found this helpful.
 on May 15, 2012
By James C. Schultz
I gave this book a 5 star rating even though I would recommend skipping the Eight Chapter if you are not of a liberal persuasion. The information presented in the book and the author’s presentation of it is excellent. My problems with Chapter 8 are strictly personal in that I would have preferred a deeper analysis of the tanking of the spiritual revival of the 60 & 70’s than the superficial political treatment it received and I believe that the Author is too optimistic about the current spiritual state of the Country. Again this is strictly my opinion based on my own understanding of the world we live in and in no way is meant to detract from the wonderful job the author does in explaining the situation the modern church finds itself in. I am amazed that she is welcome in mainline denominational churches considering her message.

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

7 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.

A Valuable Message to Mainline Americans: Don’t Be Afraid of Spiritual Change

14 people found this helpful.
 on April 1, 2012
By David Crumm
Don’t be afraid. Religious life in America is changing dramatically, but for millions of Americans who are searching for faith, inspiration and hope on a daily basis–the underlying spiritual strength of our American culture is alive and well. In a couple of sentences, that’s the wise and helpful message of Diana Butler Bass’s new book, Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.

Are we experiencing a Spiritual Awakening?

10 people found this helpful.
 on May 22, 2012
By Robert Cornwall
Are we in the midst of a great spiritual awakening? Reports from the churches might suggest otherwise, but there is other evidence that despite the apparent decline being experienced by institutional religious entities, there is great interest in spirituality. The New Atheists have tried to gain a foothold, but their message of a godless world appeals only to a few. Science has its place, but seems not to answer all humanity’s questions. But, the same is true for older forms of religion. While people aren’t giving up on God, growing numbers of people, especially among the younger generations aren’t convinced that churches, synagogues, mosques, or temples can fill the spiritual void they’re feeling. Thus, the fastest growing religious groupings today are known as the “spiritual but not religious” or as “nones.”

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.

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