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The Secular RevolutionPower, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life$
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Christian Smith

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520230002

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520230002.001.0001

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“My Own Salvation”: The Christian Century and Psychology's Secularizing of American Protestantism

“My Own Salvation”: The Christian Century and Psychology's Secularizing of American Protestantism

(p.269) 6 “My Own Salvation”: The Christian Century and Psychology's Secularizing of American Protestantism
The Secular Revolution

Keith G. Meador

University of California Press

Protestant theology views the Christian life through two distinct lenses: one focused on the life and history of the institutional church, the other on the individual's personal experience. This chapter addresses the question of how the agents of psychology secularized American public life by acting within and through American Protestantism. It explores the agents and cultural structures which advocated macro-secularization through psychology in American Protestantism and the ideologies these agents disseminated, stating that the Social movement theory's appeal to shifts in socially legitimate power provides an apt lens for observing this secularization process. American Protestantism and psychology played significant roles in the process of macro-secularization in America as American Protestantism increasingly located religious experience, which psychology was called upon to interpret. The early American psychologists embraced psychology as an appropriate replacement for the Protestant faith of their childhood, as a way to make Christianity scientific.

Keywords:   institutional church, Christianity, American Protestantism, macro-secularization, religious experience, social movement

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