Protestantism and the quest for certainty

In the course of my career as a sociologist of religion I made one big mistake and had one big insight (arguably not such a bad record). The big mistake, which I shared with almost everyone who worked in this area in the 1950s and '60s, was to believe that modernity necessarily leads to a decline in religion. The big insight was that pluralism undermines the taken-for-grantedness of beliefs and values. It took me some time to relate the insight to the mistake. And it has only been very recently that I understood the implications for the position of Protestantism in the contemporary world.


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