Popular Religion and Pluralism, or, Will Harry Potter Be Left Behind?

Peter W. Williams

in Gods in America

Published in print August 2013 | ISBN: 9780199931903
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199345779 | DOI:
Popular Religion and Pluralism, or, Will Harry Potter Be Left Behind?

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Popular religion appears in extra-ecclesial settings, is transmitted outside normal channels of official religious communication, manifests itself in terms of supernaturalism, and has an elective affinity with the mass culture created by capitalistic modes of cultural production merging with sophisticated communications technologies. The proliferation and persistence of popular religion in the United States has been a manifestation of religious pluralism from the nation's beginning, and its founding documents have continued to guarantee the possibility of that pluralism. Although popular religion has been protean in its expression, it has nevertheless tended to cluster into “metaphysical” and “evangelical” strains. Some types of popular religion, especially within metaphysical movements, have themselves been essentially pluralistic, as manifest in their eclecticism, their fascination with the exotic, and their resistance to institutionalization. Evangelicalism, however, has generally proven less receptive to coexistence with religions that do not share its interpretation of Christianity.

Keywords: Popular culture; popular religion; evangelicalism; metaphysical religion; Harry Potter; Left Behind

Chapter.  7757 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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