By Hugh McLeod, Werner Ustorf

''Christendom'' refers to a society the place Christianity is basically obligatory. Western Europe, even if, has been steadily relocating clear of Christendom for greater than centuries in the direction of a society the place an exceptional number of spiritual and non-religious techniques can be found and none is ready to declare a privileged place. Written via historians, sociologists and theologians from six nations, and together with chapters on such a lot ecu international locations, this research examines this technique of expanding pluralism and its implication for the longer term.

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In Part I we review the situation at the end of the twentieth century. The contributors comprise the sociologists Eva Hamberg and Yves Lambert, and the historian Callum Brown. All agree that Christendom is at an end, but they disagree as to what is taking its place. Brown offers the most clear-cut view: the secular society, which earlier generations imagined, is now a reality – and indeed one from which there can be no escape. Hamberg reaches similar conclusions, though presenting them more cautiously.

There was nothing ‘secular’ whatever in nineteenth-century British society. It was a society which knew well, from top to bottom, what it knew it ought to believe and ought to do religiously, and what it was that some were alleging was being ‘lost’ in the midst of urban–industrial change. When members of society did not do 36 Callum G. Brown the expected and observable ‘religious’ things, they were loudly harangued by moral and religious gatekeepers from pulpit, corner gossip shop and Sunday lunch table.

12. ), From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion in England (Cambridge, 1991); O. P. ), Toleration in Enlightenment Europe (Cambridge, 2000); see also Richard Helmstadter, Freedom and Religion in the Nineteenth Century (Stanford, CA), 1997. A detailed study on one state is Joachim Whaley, Religious Toleration and Social Change in Hamburg, 1529–1819 (Cambridge, 1985). 13. ), Histoire religieuse de la Pologne, French translation (Paris, 1987), 193–4. 14. ), The Emancipation of Catholics, Jews and Protestants (Manchester, 1999).

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