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Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  848 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2012)
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James R
May 03, 2012 James R rated it it was amazing


The subtitle of this book is unfortunate because it suggests the author's purpose is to do away with Christianity. Not so. What Diana Butler Bass is actually arguing for is a way for Christianity to reclaim its authority in a modern world where more and more people are claiming an identity as both religious and spiritual. For the multitudes who have given up on church based orthodoxy, but who still long for something to take its place, Bass offers a picture of what that Christian something migh
...more
David Crumm
Apr 01, 2012 David Crumm rated it it was amazing
A Valuable Message to Mainline Americans: Don’t Be Afraid of Spiritual Change

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 Awake
...more
Sarah Rice
Jul 06, 2012 Sarah Rice rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to read this book because 1. there's a lot to digest and 2. I got a lot on my plate right now. I checked this book out because the author is speaking in DC later this month and I wanted to get more out the talk. This book is a good blend of sociology, history, and theology. It offers a good look into the current climate of christian religion, faith, and spirituality in the United States. It summarizes the Great Awakening(s) nicely and puts them into a nice historical and theolo ...more
Dan
May 12, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing
I chose to read this book because I am at a time of questioning the place of organized church in my own life. Several months ago we stopped attending the church of which my wife and I have been members for twenty-three years because actions of the church leaders do not coincide with our beliefs on proper Christian responses to society. Further, meaningful dialog seems to be impossible as the leaders' opinions are forcefully inserted in discussions in ways so as to squash other opinions from bein ...more
Teri Peterson
May 17, 2012 Teri Peterson rated it really liked it
I wish I could give half stars--I would give 4.5. I thought this was the best of DBB's writing so far. Though I would not say there was a ton of new-to-me information, I will say that she does a wonderful job organizing, putting words to, and presenting things many of us have been thinking about for a long time. This is an accessible read even for non-professional church people. I so appreciate the clarity with which the author offers us both history and a framework for the present, along with h ...more
Jan
Apr 20, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing
Excellent, excellent book. From my blog:

This weekend, read this book. Pulling together analysis from Harvey Cox, Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle and others, Diana analyzes the shifts in Christianity which explain – among many other things:

- why faithful people in my denomination want to leave the PCUSA to join the ECO or EPC while other faithful people want to remain in the PCUSA
- why the “how” questions (“How do I believe?”) is a better question today than the “what” questions (“What do I believ
...more
Mary
Jun 08, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
Diana Butler Bass really nails it, I think. This is a must read for every church governing board, evangelism committee, and clergy person.
Mike Young
Feb 11, 2014 Mike Young rated it it was amazing
In her Acknowledgments at the end of Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening, Diana Butler Bass says, "These pages are my long-considered answers to questions a book and a teacher raised during my senior year in college." Christianity After Religion is one of those books that took me a long time to read. Not because it was difficult, but because it required me to look at questions that have lingered around my faith and life for years.

Raised in a
...more
Robert D. 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 ...more
maggie
Feb 04, 2016 maggie rated it really liked it
Although having an American slant, this book has helped me understand how Christian culture is expressed these days in England. I'm not a visitor from another planet, but having lived in Africa for years I might just as well be - things have changed and seem strange to me. The author is able to paint an interesting overview of not just church history but also the more subtle shifts and trends in personal attitudes to church and faith. Somehow I am left feeling braver about accepting and even bei ...more
Ruthann
Mar 30, 2012 Ruthann rated it it was amazing
This is an important book. This book would be worthwhile reading for anyone who has ever examined their own spiritual journey, questioned their faith, or even been hurt by the 'church'. Some issues would be clarified and brought to light.

In addition this book is for every Christian who cares about Jesus, who cares about the future of Christian faith. Diana carefully researches the status of the Church today, and examines the life and faith of followers of Jesus.

What is the future of the Church?
...more
Mmetevelis
May 04, 2015 Mmetevelis rated it did not like it
Interesting and engaging. Bass has a lively prose style, heavily anecdotal but takes a balanced look at modern culture and trends influencing religion in a North American context. Her central argument in which she inverts the traditional order of believing, behaving, and belonging to the exact reverse is a compelling one for church practice.

The tragedy of this work is that Bass engages in speculation and enthusiasm in her third section that is heavily colored by her political beliefs. Bass's wo
...more
Brian
Aug 16, 2014 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
In Christianity After Religion, Diana Butler Bass attempts to place her research on the increase in religious dis-affiliation (ie, the "nones") in the context of previous major religious changes. Ultimately, she argues that we're in the midst of a new Great Awakening — albeit one punctuated and delayed by the rise of the Religious Right in the 1980s. She starts off with an in-depth look at the rise of the "nones," and tracks the decline in numbers and reputation of American churches. If that was ...more
Alex Acton
Feb 04, 2014 Alex Acton rated it really liked it
If you enjoy the likes of Rob Bell or Matthew Paul Turner, you'll probably like this book. The author makes the case for a new brand of Christianity that brings back the essential spiritualism that originally spurred man's interest in the divine.

While the book is easy to read and does speak to many of the needs of the modern church, I do personally take issues with some of Bass's theological choices. She re-imagines Christianity as something fundamentally different that what it currently is. I
...more
Kevin Kirking
Mar 25, 2013 Kevin Kirking rated it it was amazing
Prophetic, analytic and downright fascinating! A guidebook to the "great awakening" taking place within the halls of orthodoxy of American Christianity. The pesky little secret that just won't stay hidden. If you want an understanding of where the church is headed in the 21st Century, this is a good place to start. In able company of the likes of Rob Bell, Parker J. Palmer, Brian McLaren and others, Butler Bass's writing is compelling and fresh.
Paul Rack
Feb 25, 2016 Paul Rack rated it really liked it
This is a great book summarizing the current religious situation in America and pointing to future possibilities. Bass talks about the "spiritual but not religious" phenomenon, and concludes that the future lies with those who are spiritual AND religious. At the same time rejecting a great deal of the institutionalization of Christianity. She holds that the new pattern is a recovery of an oder pattern in which people first belong to a community, then they learn the practices of that community, a ...more
Neil White
Aug 15, 2013 Neil White rated it it was amazing
This is Diana Butler Bass' best work to this point and one of the clearest and most helpful examinations of the dynamic within culture in relation to spirituality and religion. It is helpful in understanding many of the larger struggles going on not only in religion, but also in the larger cultural and political struggles for identity going on within our country. I found this not only a helpful book but a very hopeful one.
Christina Wible
Jun 15, 2012 Christina Wible rated it it was amazing
This book is an absolute "must-read" for those of us wondering where religion, any religion, is going in this world. I spend months reading it slowly because I wanted to savor the wisdom of the carefully reasoned prose. This is a book I will read over and over again in my search for a place I can be in the changing landscape of belief.
Eric Ledermann
Jul 09, 2012 Eric Ledermann rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at where we've been. A sobering look at where we are. A hope-filled look at where we might be going. Though the church is changing dramatically, it may not be so bad. We may even have a chance to discover an even more faithful way of being in this post-Christian/emerging vision of "spiritual and religious."
Heidi
Nov 13, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it
I'm going to have to put this down, mostly because I get depressed whenever I open it. Maybe I'll try again some other time. It's good - very good. Very insightful. But it makes me feel extinct, and that's not really working for me right now. When I'm feeling less irrelevant, I'll try again.
Bill
Mar 24, 2012 Bill rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Bill by: Self
My review is here:http://www.billdahl.net/headline/chri...


And on Amazon...books like this are crafted once every 5 years...This is a Treasure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Richard Ohlrogge
Jul 10, 2012 Richard Ohlrogge rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of the evolution of religion in the US and how the changes taking place can be utilized by individuals who are searching among the diversity of choices for communal belonging. Or even the possibility of creating new ways of spiritually being present with a little imagination.
Mitsuru
Apr 17, 2012 Mitsuru rated it really liked it
This book teaches me very wide range aspects of Christendom especially in U.S. I'll preserve this book in my bookshelf. I'm a foreigner of christianity and of the U.S., but I could understand what this author want to say.
M Christopher
Jul 13, 2014 M Christopher rated it really liked it
Another really helpful book from Diana Butler Bass. A church historian by training, she has also become something of a futurist as she uses her experience in analyzing the trends of the past to give her readers a clear view of the present and a hint of what may be coming. In this book, she focuses on the "Great Awakenings" that have characterized Western Christianity and expands on the notion that a fourth Awakening began in the 60's. She demonstrates how that movement was derailed by Nativists, ...more
Elsa
May 12, 2012 Elsa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry
I wanted something more in this conclusion beyond a 4-step individual plan but I suppose that's the point. The only thing that you can really change us yourself. The rest will follow.
Matt Willis-Goode
Apr 23, 2012 Matt Willis-Goode rated it it was amazing
This is a great book that presents an overview of the religious history that has brought us to the current spiritual awakening. It is both informative and inspirational.
Juliet
Mar 09, 2014 Juliet rated it really liked it
Diane Butler Bass is a ray of light in the chaos surrounding us. She makes sense of the statistics, tracks the history, and plots the trends affecting church membership in this decade of shifting habits. She then goes the extra step of providing a plan that congregations can adopt. According to Bass we are in the middle of the 4th Great Awakening 2.0. 2.o because we were interrupted by the Reagan/Bush years. It is an awakening towards a deep personal experience with God. The non-affiliated (None ...more
Jennifer
Apr 25, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Much food for thought in this book. It would make a great study for a clergy book group (:)) or within a congregation....
Michael Gizzi
May 07, 2012 Michael Gizzi rated it it was amazing
Just finished this. Excellent read. Provides much to think about. Well worth reading.
Nindyo Sasongko
Sep 10, 2012 Nindyo Sasongko rated it it was amazing
This book gives me more courage to take the advanced degrees in Spirituality.
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Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a PhD in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of seven books, including the bestselling Christianity for the Rest of Us, released by HarperOne in 2006. It was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and Christian Century, won ...more
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“Christianity did not begin with a confession. It began with an invitation into friendship, into creating a new community, into forming relationships based on love and service.” 9 likes
“If we think of belonging only as membership in a club, organization, or church, we miss the point. Belonging is the risk to move beyond the world we know, to venture out on pilgrimage, to accept exile. And it is the risk of being with companions on that journey, God, a spouse, friends, children, mentors, teachers, people who came from the same place we did, people who came from entirely different places, saints and sinners of all sorts, those known to us and those unknown, our secret longings, questions, and fears.” 7 likes
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