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Title: Choosing the Dream: The Future of Religion in American Public Life (Contributions to the Study of Religion)
Author: Frederic M Gedicks
Author2: Roger Hendrix
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Religion has been deeply embedded in the history and culture of the United States since its birth. The last 20 years have seen a revival of religion which some have styled the Fourth Great Awakening. This latest turn to religion has uncovered and sharply defined a cultural paradox that has been evident for some time. Large numbers of Americans are deeply religious in their personal lives, yet American public life is largely empty of religious content and often hostile to religion, resulting in a fascinating and puzzling contradiction. This contradiction between secular public and religious private life is the focus of Choosing the Dream.
One consequence of the conflict between public secularism and privatized religion has been deep frustration and alienation of religious people from the institutions and processes of American public life, creating at least the potential for religious revolution. Given the historically pragmatic nature of American democracy, however, the authors argue that it is likely that public life will adjust to the demands of those religious people and institutions who feel excluded, accommodating them to a legitimate role in public life. Gedicks and Hendrix explain why and how this will happen, outlining new understandings of knowledge, truth, history, and religion that will challenge believers and secularists alike. They contend that, in the end, the admission of religion as an equal participant in public life will bring America closer to realizing its full potential as a nation. This thoughtful and sophisticated academic work is written in a language that will be accessible to general audiences as well.
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