Chapter

The Quest for Identity

Robert Wuthnow

in Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096514
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853380 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096514.003.0014
The Quest for Identity

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Religion in the 21st century will continue to play an important role in American public life, animating social movements and reform efforts of all kinds. It will do so because it is well institutionalized and because American culture legitimates its involvement in the shaping of collective values. There is always the danger that public religion and private religion will become separate, the one voicing opinions that are not felt deeply by the vast majority of American Christians. Public religion cannot persist without its private counterpart. Some of the challenges religious institutions face in trying to continue their role as sources of Christian identity have already been discussed in the previous chapter. This chapter argues that identity will come from multiple sources, depends heavily on our individual achievements, but also links us with history and community.

Keywords: religion; public life; identity; social movements; reform; Christians; community; history; achievements

Chapter.  3944 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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