The Denominational Society: A Sociological Approach to Religion in America

The Denominational Society: A Sociological Approach to Religion in America

The Denominational Society: A Sociological Approach to Religion in America

The Denominational Society: A Sociological Approach to Religion in America

Excerpt

In this volume we will contend that denominationalism is a central characteristic of American religion, and that one cannot understand American religion unless one understands the complex relationships between the denominations and the larger social structures. The United States is a denominational society -- indeed, one of the four denominational societies in the Western world. By the denominational society we intend to describe a religious form found only in Canada, the United States, Holland, and Switzerland -- that is to say, a relationship between religion and society which is characterized neither by an established church nor protesting sect. Rather, in the United States religion and the rest of society relate to each other through multiple quasi-equal ecclesiastical organizations which are not a halfway house between a sect and the Church but actually a social organizational adjustment to the fact of religious pluralism. Indeed, we will go further and contend that in the absence of understanding the denominations, one cannot understand America society, either.

This attempt at understanding will proceed from a sociological perspective and will attempt to integrate into a social-structural viewpoint some of the findings of history and psychology, as well as the pertinent observations of social criticism -- an activity which has always been popular when American religion was the object of the criticism. In the early chapters we will concentrate on the relevance of the literature generally included under the heading Sociology of Religion for coping with the American religious phenomena; and we will conclude that religion provides not merely meaning in the lives of its . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.