The End of Religion? An Essential Corrective to the Secularization Myth

The End of Religion? An Essential Corrective to the Secularization Myth

May 5, 2015

8:30 am - noon.

Paul Powell Chapel-Truett Seminary

In recent years, religions decline and imminent fall has been a source of intense interest to media and academics alike. Repeated surveys have been cited as showing the decline of American faith, the growth of atheism, and of the number people admitting to no religion the famous Nones - so that once famously religious America seems set to secularize on the lines of Godless Europe.

The problem is that schema is so multiply flawed as to be close to worthless. To say this is not to reject the methodology or conclusions of any one particular survey or projection, but rather to challenge the working assumptions of all of them. We can cite problems of definition and language; inaccurate understandings of history and historical change; and a stubborn unwillingness to observe and understand the many signs pointing to the resilient growth of religion around the world, and specifically in North America. Whichever approach we use statistical, historical, comparative, sociological the secularization narrative falls apart.

A gulf separates what can reliably and responsibly be said about future projections of religion, and the interpretations offered. Our goal in this event is to provide an essential corrective to the Secularization Myth, and to offer ways of understanding and debunking future claims as they arise.

A GODLESS WORLD? Signs of a Global Religious Revival - Rodney Stark, Co-Director, Institute for Studies of Religion, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences

GODLESS EUROPE? - Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History Co-Director, Program on Historical Studies of Religion

GODLESS LIVES?: Does Religion Matter for Our Well-Being? - Jeff Levin, University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Professor of Medical Humanities, Director, Program on Religion and Population Health (PRPH)

THE MYTH OF AMERICAN PIETY ? - Byron R. Johnson, Co-Director, Institute for Studies of Religion Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences

TOWARD A GODLESS AMERICA? - J. Gordon Melton Distinguished Professor of American Religious History