Chapter

“My Own Salvation”: The Christian Century and Psychology's Secularizing of American Protestantism

Keith G. Meador

in The Secular Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520230002
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936706 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520230002.003.0006
“My Own Salvation”: The Christian Century and Psychology's Secularizing of American Protestantism

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Protestant theology views the Christian life through two distinct lenses: one focused on the life and history of the institutional church, the other on the individual's personal experience. This chapter addresses the question of how the agents of psychology secularized American public life by acting within and through American Protestantism. It explores the agents and cultural structures which advocated macro-secularization through psychology in American Protestantism and the ideologies these agents disseminated, stating that the Social movement theory's appeal to shifts in socially legitimate power provides an apt lens for observing this secularization process. American Protestantism and psychology played significant roles in the process of macro-secularization in America as American Protestantism increasingly located religious experience, which psychology was called upon to interpret. The early American psychologists embraced psychology as an appropriate replacement for the Protestant faith of their childhood, as a way to make Christianity scientific.

Keywords: institutional church; Christianity; American Protestantism; macro-secularization; religious experience; social movement

Chapter.  19114 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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