Religious Cultures – Communities of Belief

Against the backdrop of the resurgence of religious forces in East and West that began in the late 20th century these collected essays reflect upon the role of religion in the transatlantic world. When one takes a closer look at the generally held opinion that the western societies have undergone and are continuing to undergo a more or less thorough process of secularization this notion appears less convincing – at least in view of the persistent vitality of religion in the United States. From this point of view, there is a transatlantic divide that separates the United States from Europe, and by all appearances Europe alone stands out as the only truly secular continent in the modern world. But this begs the question whether the obvious decline of the public role of the traditional church establishment signals in fact the emergence of a secular Euro culture. Rather, it has recently been argued, a metamorphosis of the religious and of religion is taking place in Europe: Europeans are in comparison to people in other parts of the world not less but differently religious.
Written by highly renowned scholars the essays in this volume discuss the varieties of religious forms and communities of belief from a transatlantic vantage point. They approach the subject in an interdisciplinary and nuanced manner from diverse angels and perspectives. Naturally these presentations will not exhaust this highly complex topic. But they offer a fresh look at the interplay between spiritual and religious forces and public affairs in a modernized transatlantic West.