How has Western society come to be “hyperpluralized”—that is, how has it come to contain a dizzying array of incompatible claims about the true and the good? How are we to understand the increasingly fractious and polarized nature of politics, especially in the United States, and the incessant culture wars that afflict this country? Why do we seem powerless to curb consumerism and the way it contributes to the problem of global climate change? Finally, why is the public square of most Western democracies so secular and why do our public universities have no place for God?
The answer, according to University of Notre Dame historian Brad Gregory, is the Protestant Reformation.