What if the 1970s were not simply an evangelical revival like those of old, but the first stirrings of a new spiritual awakening, a vast interreligious movement toward individual, social, and cultural transformation? …What if the awakening is not exclusively a Christian affair, but rather that a certain form of Christianity is playing a significant role in forming the contours of a new kind of faith beyond conventional religious boundaries?
Diana Butler Ross, Christianity After Religion
The crisis of traditional Christianity, not the rise of the conservative churches, remains the major religious story of the 1960s and ‘70s. The gains of certain denominations notwithstanding, the era witnessed an extraordinary weakening of organized Christianity in the United States and a fundamental shift in America’s spiritual ecology – away from institutional religion and toward a more do-it-yourself and consumer-oriented spirituality – that endures to the present day. In subsequent decades, traditional believers would hopefully cite various revivals or awakenings as evidence that their faith might be regaining the ground that it lost between 1965 and 1980. But nothing that’s happened since, whether in small prayer groups or booming megachurches, has made up for the losses that institutional Christianity sustained during America’s cultural revolution.
Ross Douthat, Bad Religion, 62
I think Douthat’s analysis here is flawed, but the book itself has been really interesting so far.
If the publishers at TIME and other magazines and newspapers had been paying attention, it would have been clear that a large scale religious shift was about to take place.