This book is the findings of a research project asking whether there has been a fundamental shift in Western cultures away from religion towards spirituality.
The Spiritual Revolution posits that the decline in attendance at formal church services and in those describing themselves as members of congregations is matched by a rise in people describing themselves as spiritual and participating in what might be described as new age activities. The study also considered whether that trend might be reversed by looking at the demographics of the population studied. The study was conducted in Cumbria and some comparisons to the UK as whole are made.
The most interesting part of the book to me was the discussion about how the decline of participation in traditional congregation mirrors the decline in all sorts of associational activities, such as trade unions, professional institutions and political parties. I’ve worked for organizations that rely on committees of volunteers for a while now and the factors described in this book are very much at play. It gave me a different perspective on what’s going on. I’m not sure what I’ll do with that yet, but I feel it’s important to know.
The Spiritual Revolution is the published findings of a study conducted by Paul Heelas, Professor of Religion and Modernity, and Linda Woodhead, Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies, from Lancaster University. If you’re interested in the subject and prepared to tackle some fairly dry text, then it’s worth a read.