The Future of Christianity: Historical, Sociological, Political and Theological Perspectives from New Zealand

The Future of Christianity: Historical, Sociological, Political and Theological Perspectives from New Zealand

Paperback ATF

Edited by John Stenhouse, Edited by Brett Knowles, Edited by Antony Wood

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  • Publisher: Australian Theological Forum
  • Format: Paperback | 255 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 206mm x 18mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 31 December 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Hindmarsh, SA
  • ISBN 10: 1920691235
  • ISBN 13: 9781920691233
  • Sales rank: 1,455,217

Product description

This book, written by a group of New Zealand scholars, theologians, historians and lawyers, examines the question of New Zealand's Western culture and Christianity. The contributors explore recent debates over secularisation, exploring its merits and explanatory power, while also showing its limitations. Throughout the West diverse forms of religiosity and spirituality remain widespread and while changing form, show signs of disappearing. The contributors insist that it is impossible to understand contemporary relations between the West, and for example, the Islamic world, without understanding the religiosity on both sides of this complex and portentous divide. Several contributors raise questions about the extent to which Western political, intellectual and media elites really understand what ordinary Westerners, let alone Muslims, actually believe. The assumtion still pervasive among secular Westerners that religion is dying out constitutes a species of wishful thinking that the twenty-first century world can no longer afford. Editor, Professor John Stenhouse teaches history at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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Review quote

"The circumstances, possibilities, and issues concerning Christianity in New Zealand are a microcosm of these elsewhere in the Western world. This multidisciplinary work aims to inform readers of perspectives and realities regarding contemporary Christianity not reflected or suggested in the popular media. Focus on certain anomalies is especially revealing, as well as to some degree predictive of Christianity's possible future depending on how these are resolved. Kevin Ward, a lecturer of Church issues in the modern world, explores how the "fragmentation and religious pluralism" in postmodernism not only limit and distort understanding of beliefs and developments in Christianity, but also shape strategies for Christians wishing to be a part of modern culture. "Believing Without Belonging" is part of the title of Ward's article. Another by Bruce Knox, Executive Director of Bible College in New Zealand, explores the apparent anomaly that "Christian Allegiance Is Declining, Yet Theological Education Is Booming." The role of religion in shaping the New Zealand national identity, even as the nation was "set up more or less decisively independent of any denominational church influence," is another relevant topic; while a couple of other articles take up political solutions for dealing with the desire of Christians to see their beliefs and values reflected more plainly in government policies and activity. The number of articles by theologians, historians, and sociologists, among others, with their fingers on the pulse of contemporary Christian situations and concerns offer a variety of views on the persistent matter of religion in contemporary life and current affairs." -- Midwest Book Review