Book Reviews -- Looking for God in the Suburbs by James Hudnut-Beumler

Article excerpt

Looking for God in the Suburbs. James Hudnut-Beumler. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. 1994. 230 pp.

Not so long ago God was said to be dead. Today he is back with a vengeance. We week God, and his blessing everywhere. James Hudnut-Beumler has us Looking for God in the Suburbs.

He concentrates on the 50s and 60s. In the earlier decade 99 percent of adult Americans, be claims, believed in God. How did this conformity turn to confrontation in the 60s? How did the counterculture manage to change the whole religious climate?

Critics like Will Herberg, Peter Berger, and Gibson Winter thought religion was too rooted in the middle class, and Hudnut-Beumler agrees. We hadn't returned to religion--we had moved to suburbia, and cut ourselves off from the real world millions of Americans inhabited.

There were powerful secular critics as well--C. Wright Mills, David Riesman, William Whyte, and Dwight Macdonald among them. They blamed consensus and conformity for the shallowness of our society and religion. …