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Christianity in the Twenty-First CenturyReflections on the Challenges Ahead$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195096514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096514.001.0001

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The Future of Fundamentalism

The Future of Fundamentalism

(p.109) 8 The Future of Fundamentalism
Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Robert Wuthnow

Oxford University Press

One of the most surprising features of American religion in the 20th century has been the survival of fundamentalism. Indeed, it might almost be appropriate to say that this has been one of the defining elements of the religious mosaic in this period. What are the social and cultural factors empowering it? Will these factors continue to perpetuate it as a significant expression of religious belief in the 21st century? To address these questions, this chapter suggests a broad sensitizing framework that seeks to make sense of the sources of Christian fundamentalism without taking a reductionistic stance toward the phenomenon being explained. In other words, it wants to distance itself from much in the sociological tradition that would try to account for Christian fundamentalism by demonstrating it to be a reflection of social factors somehow more basic or foundational, such as the struggle between social classes or the authority relations of sovereign groups.

Keywords:   Christian fundamentalism, religion, social factors, cultural factors, social classes, sovereign groups, authority

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