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Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening Hardcover – Jan 27 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harperone (Jan. 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062003739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062003737
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #163,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Bass has done it again! She’s spot on-prophetic, compelling, and most importantly, hopeful.” (Rob Bell, author of Love Wins)

“Refreshing, evocative, well informed and original.” (Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith)

“Bass explains how experience, connection, and service are replacing theology as keys to the next Great Awakening. It’s a fascinating story.” (Bill McKibben, author of Earth and founder of

“Interesting, insightful, impressive and important.” (Marcus Borg, author of Speaking Christian)

“…an important and life-giving book, written by … one of our finest religious writers.” (Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak)

“Join Bass in rebuilding religion from the bottom up!” (Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation and author of Falling Upward)

“It is one blockbuster of an analysis that is also a delight to read.” (Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence)

“Diana reminds us here that, before every great awakening, folks say it is impossible... and after every great awakening, folks say it was inevitable.” (Shane Claiborne, author and activist)

“Of Bass’s many excellent books, this is the most substantive, provocative, and inspiring yet. . . . it leads to a powerful finale of sage guidance for the future.” (Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity)

“Bass ably analyzes the struggle for awareness and change that defines spiritual awakening.” (Publishers Weekly Religion Bookline (starred review))

From the Back Cover

The data is clear: religious affiliation is plummeting across the breadth of Christian denominations. And yet interest in "spirituality" is on the rise. So what is behind the sea change in American religion? With the same comprehensive research and insider reporting that made Christianity for the Rest of Us an indispensable guide to cultivating thriving churches, Diana Butler Bass offers a fresh interpretation of the "spiritual but not religious" trend.

Bass—who has spent her career teaching the history, culture, and politics of religion, and engaging church communities across the nation—brings forth her deep knowledge of the latest national studies and polls, along with her own groundbreaking analysis, as she seeks to fully comprehend the decline in Christian attendance and affiliation that started decades ago—and has increased exponentially in recent years.

Some contend that we're undergoing yet another evangelical revival; others suggest that Christian belief and practice is eroding entirely as traditional forms of faith are replaced by new ethical, and areligious, choices. But Bass argues compellingly that we are, instead, at a critical stage in a completely new spiritual awakening, a vast interreligious progression toward individual and cultural transformation, and a wholly new kind of postreligious faith.

Offering direction and hope to individuals and churches, Christianity After Religion is Bass's call to approach faith with a newfound freedom that is both life-giving and service driven. And it is a hope-filled plea to see and participate in creating a fresh, vital, contemporary way of faith that stays true to the real message of Jesus.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Helen Goggin on Jan. 10 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Diana Butler Bass is right on in her perceptive overview of where the church is failing today. As I read some of the first chapters I found myself laughing out loud, not something I do often when reading anymore, because she described so well what is turning many people off going to church i.e. it simply doesn't connect with their real lives at all!

She says we have got the order of belief, behaving and belonging wrong. Butler Bass claims that in the early church it was the other way around, first you joined, then you learned how this group behaved, liturgically, socially, morally and in community. Then you decided if what they believed was what you believed too. But being there and showing love to both the community and the world outside was far more important than belief.

Yes it does matter what we believe but today what we believe simply has to make sense with what we know about the world through science and our own personal experience. The middle part of the book I found deeply moving as she challenged us to "know ourselves" and to seek a personal experience of God not just a "theological" one.

I hope to use this next Fall with a study group that I lead that hopefully will lead us into both a spiritual and religious renewal of our Christian faith.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very knowledgable woman and one with an ability to fit the details to the wide scope categories in terms of which visions can be framed. While the context of the book is very American, including a variety of things that are reasonably unique to that great and yet frustrating nation and its people, the core of the analysis runs well to faith oriented people most anywhere - including Canada even though our context is distinctly different. If we could successfully get people to creatively participate in community informed by care and passion the way she suggests, the apparent erosion of religious affiliations and things like church attendance would surely get stopped in its tracks. Would add a lot to life for a lot of people if it could be made to happen.
My residual big question is whether she would invite atheists and agnostics to come to her participatory celebrations of life an community - generally recognizing that they are just people with a belief system like the rest of us. Seems to me that one could easily recognize that the Gods of the religious groups are hardly going to be threatened by the limited type of belief system to which these folks subscribe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eddie Chu TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 23 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Borrowed it from the library and bought one for myself.

This is the first book from Diana Bass that I read. I was oo-ing and ahh-ing through most of it. I had to mark it up and put post-it flags on many pages. That's why I had to buy my own.

Diana takes a social look at what has happened to Christianity in the past decades. What she writes explains many observations that I have made, having trusted Christ for my life in 1978. I watched the church losing her relevancy to many people fifty and under and was saddened by it. Diana takes us through the trend of change in spirituality in the Christian context and explains to me why being "religious" is no longer a term appreciated by many. We need to be "spiritual" and she goes on to explain what it means to the late-twentieth and twenty-first century.

On the one hand, Diana makes me feel sad how so many feels out of touch with church--the body of Christ. On the other hand, she gives me hope that people are not rejecting Christ; they are finding the projection of Christ by religious Christian irrelevant to their lives. People are still spiritual and the expression of the ageless gospel of Christ has to align with the changes in perception and expectation of the society.

Diana feels that there is a great awakening to spirituality. People want and seek more spirituality but it may not be the way the traditional churchgoers used to perceive and express it. This awakening is not limited to Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, or other major religions. Christians need to be aware of this spiritual awakening and respond positively to it.

There are negative responses ("backlashes") to spiritual awakening and some are disheartened by the backlashes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Strachan on Feb. 9 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Butler-Bass musters a solid case for understanding the current situation of the institution of the church, mainline or conservative. She provides a new and thoughtful perspective on the "spiritual but not religious" segment of the population. I found this to be a helpful book for understanding our predicament.
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By John Smith on July 23 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Elegantly and persuasively written consideration of the "spiritual but not religious" phenomenon, which she presents as a positive awakening.. Heavily reliant on US material and data, but still valuable for observers of the Canadian scene. A 'must read" for anyone concerned about where Christianity is going today.
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