Conclusion: Relocating Belief to the Social

Abby Day

in Believing in Belonging

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577873
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731143 | DOI:
Conclusion: Relocating Belief to the Social

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The concluding chapter draws the above chapters together, demonstrating how the study has complicated notions of ‘believing without belonging’ or ‘private belief’ by exploring belongings as expressions of relatedness, suggesting that people may not simply be expressing how they belong, but how they may be also longing for deeper connections with the social.Belief, like emotion, does not exist pre-formed in the individual but is relationally produced, suggesting resonance with an earlier meaning of belief – ‘be loved’. The activity of ‘doing belief’ is described as an active, reflective orientation towards belief arising from human, emotional interaction and personal reflection.The research has revealed the extent to which people in the mainstream’ believe in’ and want to believe in social values, people and social institutions that they trust or want to trust – a longing particularly expressed by young people. Belief in ‘the social’ in this context is an expression of emotion and relatedness through belonging and longing, which may often arise in a tendency to draw clear boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘others’.The nature of belief narratives, with their open-endedness and continuation, demanded a multi-dimensional method of analysis that revealed different orientations towards the human or divine. Conceptually, religion and secularisation thus become sub-sets of ‘belief’. In conclusion, this book reveals the complex nature of Christian nominalism, arguably the largest form of Christianity in Euro-American countries. The findings therefore complicate theories of modernity by showing how ‘belief’ does not disappear, but is shifted to the social, where belief becomes the ultimate ‘project’ of modernity: always changing and being improved upon.

Keywords: belief; belonging; secularisation; modernity

Chapter.  6902 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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