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An anxious age : the post-Protestant ethic and the spirit of America

by Bottum, J.

Format: Print Book 2014
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 277.3082 Bot
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
 
Collection  Non-Fiction
 
Call Number  277.3082 Bot
 
 
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 277.3082 B65
Location  Northland Public Library
 
Collection  Nonfiction
 
Call Number  277.3082 B65
 
 
Summary

  We live in a profoundly spiritual age, but not in any good way. Huge swaths of American culture are driven by manic spiritual anxiety and relentless supernatural worry. Radicals and traditionalists, liberals and conservatives, together with politicians, artists, environmentalists, followers of food fads, and the chattering classes of television commentators: America is filled with people frantically seeking confirmation of their own essential goodness. We are a nation desperate to stand of the side of morality--to know that we are righteous and dwell in the light.
   In An Anxious Age, Joseph Bottum offers an account of modern America, presented as a morality tale formed by a collision of spiritual disturbances. And the cause, he claims, is the  most significant and least noticed historical fact of the last fifty years: the collapse of the mainline Protestant churches that were the source of social consensus and cultural unity. Our dangerous spiritual anxieties, broken loose from the churches that once contained them, now madden everything in American life.
   Updating The Protestant Ethic and the Sprit of Capitalism , Max Weber's sociological classic, An Anxious Age undertakes two case studies of contemporary social classes adrift in a nation without the religious understandings that gave them meaning. Looking at the college-educated elite he calls "the Poster Children," Bottum sees the post-Protestant heirs of the old mainline Protestant domination of culture: dutiful descendants who claim the high social position of their Christian ancestors even while they reject their ancestors' Christianity. Turning to the Swallows of Capistrano, the Catholics formed by the pontificate of John Paul II, Bottum evaluates the early victories--and later defeats--of the attempt to substitute Catholicism for the dying mainline voice in public life.
   Sweeping across American intellectual and cultural history, An Anxious Age traces the course of national religion and warns about the strange angels and even stranger demons with which we now wrestle. Insightful and contrarian, wise and unexpected, An Anxious Age ranks among the great modern accounts of American culture.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Neocon editor-commentator Bottum reflects on the changes in religious Americans since the early twentieth century in two parts, each opening with profiles of present-day heirs of their respective traditions. The first traces mainline Protestants from the rise of the social gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch, whose adherents' affluent clout led to the alienation of charity from religion and the dissipation of faith. Their now middle-aged to elderly inheritors, whom Bottum calls the Poster Children, still emit the aura of a Calvinist-like elect but are now politically correct: environmentalist, New Agey, lower middle class, and intolerant of those who disagree with their stances. The second part portrays the rising tide of traditionalist Catholics converts and observant children of casual Catholic parents in the wake of Vatican II and, as if not more important, Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision allowing abortion. These Swallows of Capistrano (i.e., returners to the church), more individualist than previous American Catholics, have become a vanguard as trust in the clergy implodes because of sex-abuse scandals. A patchy but interesting assessment of what Protestants and Catholics have come to in today's America.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects Christianity and politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
United States -- Church history -- 20th century.
Publisher New York :2014
Edition First Edition.
Language English
Description xxii, 296 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780385518819 (hbk.)
0385518811 (hbk.)
9780385521468 (ebk.)
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