The Rise of Religious Individualism in the West

John S. Knox

foreword by Terry Steele

afterword by Bill Pubols

Sacro-Egoism: The Rise of Religious Individualism in the West discusses the relationship between secularization, participation in religious practices and belief, and the emergence of radical individualized expressions of faith in the West. Using McMinnville, Oregon, as a case study, it presents the data collected and analyzed from several churches, denominations, and spiritual settings in that unassuming town, and compares it to the results of Heelas and Woodhead’s “Spiritual Revolution” project, arriving at a provocative conclusion. Rather than abandoning Christianity for alternative spirituality practices, McMinnville citizens still feel strongly about their Christian faith, taking their spiritual walk to a more personal level than ever before in church history. Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research, along with personal stories of faith and exploration from McMinnville residents themselves, Sacro-Egoism: The Rise of Religious Individualism in the West tells a story of radical individualists who have become the highest religious authority in their lives—even over the church, the Bible, and traditional Christian society. 

copyright © 2016 John S. Knox. all rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical publications or reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher. Write: Permissions, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th ave., Suite 3, Eugene, or 97401. 

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paperback isbn: 978-1-4982-0008-0 hardcover isbn: 978-1-4982-8689-3

manufactured in the U.S.A.


foreword by Terry Steele afterword by Bill Pubols

“This book is a must-read for all sociologists of religion. John Knox’s theorization of Sacro-Egoism adds another dimension to the secularization debate and in particular offers an all-important lens on the nature of religiosity in the USA.”
—BEN PINK DANDELION, Programmes Leader, Centre for Postgraduate Quaker Studies, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre

“Dr. John Knox’s study to see the socio-philosophical axioms underpinning the current milieu of Christianity, specifically in our region of the Northwest, reveals just how much the post-enlightenment of self, or ego, has permeated our churches. His review of the many states of the Church serves as a gut-check for the individual Christian, as well as Christian institutions in general.” 

—WILLIAM HOLTZINGER, Pastor, St. Anne Catholic Church, Grants Pass, OR

“Dr. Knox’s strong background in Church History, Biblical Studies, and his love for the Church has produced an excellent treatise of the Rise of Individualism and its impact on church practices.” 

—TIMOTHEOS TSOHANTARIDIS, Professor of Biblical Studies and Greek, George Fox University, Newberg, OR

“Dr. Knox thoughtfully exposes a cultural value that’s fracturing the impact of the missional church in our western society. As a pastor, I’ve observed that those who stay engaged with others, even when it’s di cult, are the ones who grow in their identity in Christ and their love for others. Radical individualism undermines community, which is a signi cant aspect of God’s redemptive plan.” —BILL TOWNE, Lead Pastor, Rolling Hills Community Church, Tualatin, OR

John S. Knox, PhD, is an online instructor of Apologetics at Liberty University’s School of Divinity, and the Scholar-in-Residence at the Biblical Studies Center in Boise, Idaho. He has taught Bible, history, and religion for over a decade at several Christian universities in the Pacific Northwest and the East Coast. He lives in Idaho with his wife, Brenda, and their two sons, Jacob and Joseph. He is the author of The Letter of Alon (2013). 

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List of Illustrations | viii Foreword by Terry Steele | ix Acknowledgments | xiii

1   The Sociological context of
the West and the Sacro-States | 1

2   The mcminnville Project | 26

3  church Life in the West | 

4   The Holistic milieu in the West | 75

5   The Unchurched in the West | 100

6  conclusion | 121

Afterword by Bill Pubols | 137 Bibliography | 141
Subject Index | 155
Index of People | 159




The Sociological Context of the West and the Sacro-States


1.0 Introduction

In the western world today, it is not difficult to find a multitude of articles, books, and television reports (either scholarly and popular) discussing the future and nature of religion in contemporary modern culture. In 2008, a Gallup poll in America indicated, “Two-thirds of Americans think religion is losing its influence on US, life, a sharp jump from just three years ago when Americans were nearly evenly split in the question.”[1] That same year, a Baylor University survey in 2008 suggested, “American religion is remarkably stable and quite surprising in its diverse beliefs, practices and realities.”[2] As Charles Taylor remarked, “For those who see secularism as part of modernity, and modernity as fundamentally progress, the last few decades have been painful and bewildering.”[3] What seemed so clearly to point toward the final chapter of church life in the West is becoming less likely, especially considering what Americans are saying about the importance of their religious and spiritual lives.

By no means an exceptional American advent, religious life in Europe is also changing, but not necessarily toward morbidity, according to scholars like Nigel Aston who states,

Church organizations have moved to the margins, and the religious and political elites have long ceased to be interchangeable. Nevertheless, alongside the undoubted political shrinkage, the Churches continue to be social institutions deeply rooted in—and usually responsive to—community life and possessed of diverse cultural appeal.[4]

Sources such as these provide a plethora of opinions on the waxing and waning of religion in Europe and America based on various trends or patterns observable in the religious and spiritual communities once assumed by some earlier scholars and theologians to be an immutable presence in western society. However, the aforementioned sociological studies in both Europe and America along with demographical data from sources such as the Pew Research Center,[5] Kendal Project,[6] the ARIS study,[7] and the Baylor study,[8] seem to suggest otherwise.


1.1 The Sociological Context

So, what is actually going on, religiously, in the West? Certainly, spiritual expressions are transforming, but their present (and future) condition is the focus of much heated debate. Questions abound about whether religious life is waning, transforming, or reinvigorating traditional avenues in modern society. From the sociological side, some claim the current religious milieu is the result of a flooded religious market;[9] others claim (or have claimed) it is due to the secularization of modern culture.[10]

Sociologists like Steve Bruce suggest that with the secularization and modernization of the West comes a growing uselessness and irrelevance of religion in greater society. In his opinion, there are “irreversible” trends and thus, the importance of religion and Christianity will wane in several places where it used to reign. Thus, the current spirituality and religiosity in the West is just “ . . . the last gasp and whimper of concern with the sacred in the West, an inconsequential dabbling that is doomed to disappear almost as quickly as it appeared.”[11]

Countering this, rational choice theorists Finke and Stark suggest that religion in America has always been about a religious market-driven economy—the churches that offer the most emotionally and spiritually have statistically come out on top. These scholars do not see religion and Christianity as weakening; rather, they simply see modern society desiring new religious markets into which to put their religious faith. Secularization does occur, but instead of putting mortal pressure upon religious entities, secularization forces established churches and denominations to become more marketable to the public.[12]

Churches are adjusting to the new, modern religious scene in order to flourish or even survive. Every major city in America has its own megachurch. Thus, “The result is not a decline in religion, but only a decline in the fortunes of specific religious organizations, as they give way to new ones.”[13]

As such, for these theorists, the situation of Christianity in Europe (and presumably the West) is not a terminal one. Rather, Britain is merely phasing from an out-dated, sluggish religious economy into a new, vibrant one that appeals to the British populace.[14] Soon, the weak, lifeless churches will be replaced with ones that offer great appeal and usefulness than the former.

Not completely satisfied with either of these assertions, several scholars have promoted the notion of an even more inclusive and spiritually holistic approach to religion and spirituality. The school of scholars whose approach follows what can be termed the Spiritual Revolution thesis, represented by scholars like Heelas, Roof, and Woodhead, takes a more optimistic, broader attitude.[15]

To these theorists, the religious world is not diminishing in size; rather, the religious world is spilling over from traditional forms into new, personally-subjective avenues. Furthermore, one-sided, determinist theories concerning religious decline are being supplanted by theories offering a more multifaceted and multidimensional understanding of how and why religious beliefs are exercised. It is not that religion is dying; people are just as spiritual as before—in the modern age they are merely expressing their faiths in non-standard forms.

This theoretical position was the springboard for an investigation of religious life in Oregon because it seemed better to explain contemporary religious life in the Pacific Northwest. Many accepted sociological theories of religion do not adequately clarify the current (and historical) religious activity and expression of faith of Oregonians. If religious activity thrives with unencumbered religious options (so rational choice theory), then Oregon (and the whole Pacific Northwest) should have a robust church scene because it has never had an established state religion or denominational restrictions/limitations for its citizens. Yet, despite this, Oregon (as with Washington) is one of least churched states in the US. Furthermore, if this lowered church activity is indicative of the effects of secularization, then there should be a dramatic shift from religious belief to disbelief. Still, there is a substantial percentage of Oregonians who still indicate they are faithful Christians.[16]

The Spiritual Revolution theory appeared to work well in understanding current religious life in Oregon, but it, too, had problems. If people, at least generationally, were abandoning traditional Christian activities for religiously alternative ones, then one would expect to find the holistic milieu to be growing in Oregon; the data collected in the McMinnville Project sociological investigation suggests otherwise.[17]

Such sociological realities in Oregon make determining the depth and actuality of the religious scene difficult. New theories that focus on radical individualism in modern society (including Heelas, et al.) come closer to explaining the religious status in Oregon, but they also appear to fall short of a full understanding of the religious and spiritual citizens of that state (and others) in the United States of America. As Roof states of the Pacific Northwest, “The region has a distinctively secular ethos. It has a lasting legacy shaped by a frontier heritage with its individualism, free thinking, and religious indifference.”[18]

In particular, Oregon provides an excellent case study of Christian growth, decline, and transformation; in many ways, it is unique; and in others, it is similar to other regions in western society. Demographically, Oregon is a medium-sized state with a smaller population than other areas of the United States.[19] It is not a demographic hub like California or New York, but neither is it isolated from technology or culture. Indeed, it is these moderate circumstances that offered a unique opportunity to test both modern British and American theories of growth and decline. This investigation is needed and valuable.

Heelas et al. assert, “Whilst there are many excellent studies of Christianity on which we can draw in this task, there are, however, only a few that are directly focused on the issues which concern us the most.”[20] In a way, Oregon can be seen as a control group, removed from many of the tainting forces of other frenzied social centers, which is relevant to the modern question of religious growth and decline.


1.2 The Sacro-States

“Diverse forms of religion exist in every society,”[21] Tamney reports. Historical records have detailed the variegated religious affiliation, participation, and power throughout the western world and into its spheres of influence.[22] Though there have been exceptions to societal acquiescence and obligation to religious involvement throughout the centuries, the general pattern historically has been one of overall adherence (voluntary or forced) to the church institution in the western world.[23] As Heelas et al. put it, Christians have enjoyed a “ . . . life lived in terms of external or ‘objective’ roles, duties and obligations.”[24] Organized religion, specifically Christianity, has been traditionally accepted by western society as good and beneficial to society for centuries.[25] However, it was not always so, and it may not be so, presently.

With this in mind, four recurrent expressions of Christianity (what I term Sacro-Theism, Sacro-Communalism, Sacro-Clericalism,  and Sacro-Egoism) are proposed and explained. These approaches to religion are defined relative to different forms of authority. How much or how intense each one manifests itself in society depends upon the time period and/or culture. It needs to be stated that these Sacro-states are more descriptive than prescriptive. Social science merely seeks to understand how religious institutions, customs, and movements operate—not to promote a particular social agenda (although for pastors that might be a viable option according to their religious mores). There are clues to the presence or dominance of one Sacro-State form or another, but it is likely that all of these approaches to religion are in effect in western society at the same time (although one might be more central in society over the others depending upon the historical period).

Sacro-Theism relates to where primary authority is given to direct revelation/calling(s) from God in people’s lives, Sacro-Communalism focuses on non-denominational, non-institutional, unofficial religious beliefs (including the family or small groups), Sacro-Clericalism centers on ecclesiastical hierarchy and institutions, and Sacro-Egoism concentrates on the ultimate authority of the individual in spiritual matters. They all have their historical origins in Christianity, and they are all present in the modern religious world in varying intensity and manifestations.


1.2.1 Sacro-Theism

The origins of the Christian community began with the belief that God, through Jesus Christ, his Son and co-member of the Trinity,[26] directly revealed themselves to humanity (Sacro-Theism) in order to provide a way to heal the problem of human sin and separation from God (seen in Apostle Paul’s New Testament epistles and later, St. Augustine and his understanding of original sin).[27] Through Jesus, God imparted to his Disciples “ . . . the way, and the truth, and the life,”[28] and they listened and obeyed—God was their ultimate authority and his words and commands displaced all else.

“Sacro-Theism,” as with the other Sacro-states, is not just a first-century-approach to Christianity; it is evident in other historical periods of western civilization such as in the Mystical movement in thirteenth-century Germany.[29] Many Christian movements focused on the words, beliefs, and practices of these men and women—people such as Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Saint Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, George Fox, etc. who had a divine, direct communication from God. Accordingly, anyone who gives primary authority to mystical encounters and directly perceived revelation from God is a Sacro-Theist.

The description Tamney gives to one of the pastors in his study of conservative religion is a good example of Sacro-Theism. Tamney states, “He is led by the [Holy] Spirit and he challenges people. The pastor says what he wants because God works through him.  He might abruptly stop a sermon and do something different because he feels that is what God wanted him to do.”[30]

In defining what beliefs and practices a Sacro-Theistic approach would exclude, Sacro-Theists tend to downplay the authority of human authority in their lives as being open to corruption; just because a pastor says it is so does not make it so. Beliefs must have their origin and affirmation directly in God. Also, Sacro-Theists take a humble, self-deprecating view of their own spiritual authority, because as humans, they, too, are open to temptation and bad judgment. Their motto is two-fold: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding”[31] and “do not store your treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”[32]

As a simple example, a Sacro-Theist might opt for opening the Bible at whatever page it fell to and reading to find out God’s special message for him/her. What matters most is God’s direct, revealed truth in their minds, to the dismissal of all else, no matter how rational or reasonable or fashionable.


1.2.2 Sacro-Communalism

“Sacro-Communalism” focuses on non-denominational and non-institutional group beliefs. Thus, Sacro-Communalism manifests itself by the belief system(s) of the lay community operating without instruction from an institution or religious hierarchy, and it exists outside of traditional, formal, and hierarchical control. The lay community directs religious life—not official church or denominational leaders. Institutional Christianity is contrary to the authentic Christian community of believers, which promotes egalitarianism alongside of theological truths.

Of course, any modern-day spirituality or religion that exists outside of institutional control or influence and utilizes a local community in its particular worship of God/the Divine could also be considered to be Sacro-Communal. The current “Hipster Movement” could easily be characterized as Sacro-Communal.  Yet, Sacro-Communalism can quickly transform into Sacro-Clericalism when enough followers officially organize and expand their movement. Some church historians claim this happened with Christianity after the first century with officials dictating doctrine and liturgy not necessarily mandated or embraced in the first lay Christian communities.[33] Others think it occurred in Western Society during and after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.[34]

In defining what beliefs and practices they would exclude, Sacro-Communalists shy away from official organized events and regular meetings as being too political and contrived. They might prefer to meet in a coffee shop rather than a sanctuary. Additionally, formal creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed would be considered more prescribed than God would want. One is not a Christian because one has gone through the Catechism or a five-week membership class.

To them, Scriptural evidence points to an informal way of religious life that is far removed from the hyperactive, rigid halls of institutional church. They would point out that Jesus normally ministered to people in their homes or in the countryside; and that even when he was in the Temple, it was normally to chastise the religious folk there for missing the point of religiosity and spirituality.

As a simple example, a Sacro-Communalist might opt for getting together with friends at dinner to discuss potential books (the Bible and extra-biblical sources, too) to read together in order to build up the group. As McCracken points out,

Enter the age of the Christian hipster. As the '90s gave way to the 2000s, young evangelicals reared in the ostentatious Je$us subculture began to rebel. They sought a more intellectual faith, one that didn't reject outright the culture, ideas, and art of the secular world. In typical hipster fashion, they rejected the corporate mentality of the purpose-driven megachurch and McMansion evangelicalism, and longed for a simpler, back-to-basics faith that was more about serving the poor than serving Starbucks in the church vestibule.[35]

Sacro-Communalists push for an informal, non-official approach to religion wherein religious authority rests not in hierarchy but in an affirming and supportive community. With this in mind, one would expect to find responses in the survey data that pushed back against both religious milieus being too institutional or too individualistic. Sacro-Communalists responses would affirm an egalitarian approach to religiosity, with the community of believers loosely held together in altruistic brotherhood (or sisterhood).


1.2.3 Sacro-Clericalism

“Sacro-Clericalism” is defined by the development of an official church hierarchy, the acceptance of common creeds and doctrinal positions, the definition and development of denominational movements, even the construction of church buildings and offices—all detailing what it means to be a Christian, at least legitimately and corporately. Sacro-Clericalism can be seen in the form of legalistic, orchestrated worship and affiliation. Thus, for adherents, Sacro-Clericalism manifests itself in regular attendance, obedience to denominational codes, and fidelity to specific religious movements. It is more about the corporate understanding and expression of Christianity than an individual one. In fact, individualism is often shunned for its dangerous potential of division and heresy.

According to Gonzalez, during the Golden Age of Medieval Christianity, “Christendom most nearly approached the ideal of being ‘one flock, under one shepherd.’”[36] McGrath claims, “By the fifth century, Christianity had begun to establish itself securely in the Mediterranean region. Five major centers emerged within the region, each of which served as the nucleus of groups of churches: Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Rome.”[37] Holding the title of a Christian required being under the authority of the church. This is the essence of Sacro-Clericalism—spiritual acquiescence to an ecclesiastical body.

As Tamney states,

Traditionalists unquestionably affirm the authenticity of the Bible, seek to use the Bible as the only important foundation for their life, and proclaim the superiority of their own religion. The rightness of a person’s morality is not determined by the sincerity of the individual’s search for goodness but whether it conforms to the Bible.[38]

In defining what beliefs and practices a Sacro-Clericalist approach would exclude, Sacro-Clericalists find any approach to religion that circumvents institutional authority to be dangerous. Tamney states, “What traditionalists seek to preserve, above all, is valuing the group more than the individual, even to the point of being willing to kill someone who symbolizes a threat to the group or to that for which the group stands.”[39]

Personal application of Scriptures is permitted, but Biblical interpretation must adhere to institutional, corporate understandings. New trends in religious worship or presentation are only acceptable if sanctioned and developed by the central church authorities. Additionally, church community mores are not just for Sunday, but are to be carried out at all times, regardless of whom one is with or where. The individual does not dictate what is appropriate religious belief and practice—Jesus gave the church that duty, specifically.

As a simple example, a Sacro-Clericalist might opt for a reading from the Bible that has been prescribed by the church leaders or denomination—lectionaries are good examples of this. Furthermore, specific Bible translations are only to be used; a smorgasbord of translations can only lead to misunderstanding and confusion.

Ironically, some modern-day churches may be attempting to implement a hybrid individualized yet corporate religious environment in lieu of a strictly traditionalist approach.  Concerning one of the churches in his study of conservative religion, Tamney states, “The traditional service was perceived as a structure, a thing, to which church attendees were obligated to conform. At Spirited Church, the ritual fits the desires of the congregation. An important aspect of the balanced ritual is that individuals have options.”[40]

The bigger question is whether such an implementation is a new implementation or just another type of institutionalized religious ritual. Tamney goes on to say, “Spirited [Church] is run by the pastor, who, however, has created small groups within which the laity have considerable autonomy.”[41] Thus, people in this church do have some power, but this autonomy is still regulated by the head of the church (the pastor) and is, therefore, still an institutional aspect.

For the Sacro-Clericalist, it is all about building up the community that exists within the traditional structure of church life. Thus, in the McMinnville Project data, there would be evidence of this presence, although perhaps not as strong as Sacro-Egoism or Sacro-Communalism based on recently noted trends of individualism and anti-institutionalism. As such, one would expect to see responses that affirmed denominational or church control, responses suggesting that too much emphasis is placed on the individual’s right to believe whatever they want to believe, and responses elevating greater church matters (such as evangelism, missions, fund-raising, etc.) over personal matters. The organization is all; the individual is secondary.


1.2.4 Sacro-Egoism

As theological thought changed, specifically after the advent of liberalism in the nineteenth century,[42] a change began to take place in the religious world. Religious attitudes and prioritization seem to begin shifting from Sacro-Clericalism, where authority is given to the church and its representatives, to Sacro-Egoism, where the individual assumes greatest authority. The role of the individual, the self, was elevated more than ever before and self-reliance was glamorized, epitomized, and utilized in society—even until the present. Liberal theologians like Schleiermacher, Ritschl, and Tillich “ . . . sought to anchor that faith in common human experience, and interpret it in ways that made sense within the modern worldview.”[43] Schleiermacher, known as the “Father of Modern Liberal Theology,”[44] considered religion and Christianity to be “ . . . the distinctly human awareness of something infinite beyond the self on whom the self is dependent for everything.”[45]

Though first a subtle and infrequent occurrence, more and more the authority and centrality of the church began to lose ground to the prominence of the individual. Culturally, the expression of religion and Christianity encountered “ . . . a turn towards life lived by reference to one’s own subjective experiences (relational as much as individualistic).”[46] Leaning on one’s own understanding became an asset, not a detriment, to religious life and approval. According to Heelas and Woodhead, “The subjectivities of each individual become a, if not the, unique source of significance, meaning and authority.”[47] Grasso continues this understanding stating, “Liberalism’s movement toward an ever deeper individualism receives signal expression in the ascendancy of the type of liberalism that dominates our intellectual scene, in the ascendancy . . . termed the liberalism of the unencumbered self.”[48]

Starks and Robinson comment that modernists “ . . . see individuals and not a deity as the ultimate arbiters of moral authority and hold to a largely individually directed universe.”[49] Religious focus moved from the institution to the individual leading up to the civil rights movement(s) of the 1960s.

Sacro-Egoism refers to the situation in which the self or ego has the highest sacred authority in a person’s life, giving direction and meaning to religious and spiritual activities (or non-participation). God and religion are seen more as “helpers” to individual spiritual fulfillment in life. Tamney remarks that modern society, “ . . . while it accepts a modern civic code, a fragmented culture, and church-state separation, also puts the individual at the center of spirituality (each of us should form a personal religion, combining fragments from various traditions).”[50] Personal commitment is key in Sacro-Egoism; people utilizing this approach take their religious and spiritual lives very seriously and purposefully. Sacro-Egoism is not just found in traditional church settings; it is also evident in the holistic milieu and unchurched milieu in McMinnville, Oregon.

In defining what beliefs and practices they would exclude, Sacro-Egoists consider the church to be a good starting place for biblical interpretation and application, but not the ultimate source—that source rests within themselves. Sacro-Egoists would also shy away from liturgical events that restrict their expressions of faith. Such events would only limit their God-given freedom of religion. As a common example, a Sacro-Egoist might opt for a reading from the Bible that reached them personally and helped them in situations relevant to their personal life circumstances. Sacro-Egoism pushes the individual’s needs and control in front of all other variables in religious life.

With the previously mentioned in mind, substantiation would be apparent in the McMinnville Project survey responses to indicate a Sacro-Egoistical approach to religion. One would expect Sacro-Egoists to claim themselves as the highest spiritual authority in their lives and would downplay church institutional power over the individual. They would indicate a high prioritization of their faith and would have shopped around for churches that best fit their own needs. They would be involved in religious/spiritual activities outside of the church that develop their personal spirituality. They would not limit themselves to traditional avenues of religious activity and be open to trying new alternative forms of religious expression. A cluster of survey responses such as these, focusing on empowering the individual and the cultivation of their spiritual life, would be a clear indication of Sacro-Egoism.



[1] Lydia Saad, “Americans Believe Religion is Losing Clout;” online:

[2] Lori Fogleman, “Baylor Survey Finds New Perspectives On U.S. Religious Landscape;” online:

[3] Taylor, “Religious Mobilizations,” 281.

[4] Aston, “Decline or Evolution? Religion in Modern Europe,” 99.

[5] “America’s Changing Religious Landscape: Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow;” online:

[6] The Kendal Project; online:

[7] “American Religious Identification Survey 2001;” online:

[8] “American Piety in the 21st Century;” online:

[9] Finke and Stark, Churching of America, 1776–1990; Iannaccone and Everton, “Never on Sunny Days: Lessons From Weekly Attendance Counts.”

[10] Wilson, “Prediction and Prophecy in the Future of Religion,” 64–73; Berger, The Social Reality of Religion; Bruce, God is Dead.

[11] Heelas et al., The Spiritual Revolution 2.

[12] Finke and Stark, The Churching of America, 271–272.

[13] Ibid., 43.

[14] Heelas et al., The Spiritual Revolution, 68–74.

[15] Gill, The “Empty” Church Revisited, 204.

[16] “Oregon,”; online:

[17] See chapter 4 for more information on the presence of the holistic milieu in McMinnville society.

[18] Roof, Religion & Public Life in the Pacific Region, 169.

[19] According to the 2000 Census, Oregon’s population is 3,521,515; California’s population is 35,116,033; Alaska’s population is 648,818; online:

[20] Heelas et al.The Spiritual Revolution, 7.

[21] Tamney, The Resilience of Conservative Religion, 5.

[22] See Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2; Olson, The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform; McGrath, An Introduction to Christianity, 235.

[23] Gill, The “Empty” Church Revisited, 2–3; Aldridge, Religion in the Contemporary World, 2.

[24] Heelas et al.The Spiritual Revolution, 2.

[25] Barton, The Practical Benefit of Christianity.

[26] Even though there are hints to the Trinity in the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 1:2, Matthew 3:16), the official Trinitarian doctrine was not established or endorsed until CE 362. See Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol 1., 179.

[27] Apostle Paul, Romans 5:12-22; St. Augustine of Hippo, De nupt. et concup., II, xxvi, 43.

[28] John 14:6, The Holy Bible (NASB).

[29] Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol 1, 356–359.

[30] Tamney, The Resilience of Conservative Religion, 89.

[31] The Holy Bible (NASB), Proverbs 3:5.

[32] The Holy Bible (NASB), Matthew 6:19.

[33] Borg, “The Historian, the Christian, and Jesus,” 10-11; Crossan, “A Tale of Two Gods,” 1272.

[34] McCracken, “Hipster Faith;” online:

[35] Ibid.

[36] Gonzalez, The Story of ChristianityVol 1., 310.

[37] McGrath, An Introduction to Christianity, 261.

[38] Tamney, The Resilience of Conservative Religion, 245.

[39] Ibid., 8.

[40] Ibid., 87.

[41] Ibid., 109.

[42] Richardson, History Sacred and Profane, 121–124.

[43] McGrath, Historical Theology, 233.

[44] Gerrish, Prince of the Church, xi.

[45] Olson, The Story of Christian Theology, 544.

[46] Heelas et al.The Spiritual Revolution, 2.

[47] Ibid., 3–4.

[48] Grasso, “Christianity, Enlightenment Liberalism, and the Quest for Freedom,” 304.

[49] Starks and Robinson, “Moral Cosmology, Religion, and Adult Values for Children,” 32.

[50] Tamney, The Resilience of Conservative Religion, 39.