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In the Course of a LifetimeTracing Religious Belief, Practice, and Change$
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Michele Dillon and Paul Wink

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520249004

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520249004.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Spiritual Seeking

Spiritual Seeking

(p.119) 7 Spiritual Seeking
In the Course of a Lifetime

Michele Dillon

Paul Wink

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the concept of the spiritual seeking of Americans. In America, the first spiritual awakening dates back to the 1830s and 1840s, and that is associated with the emergence of the transcendentalist movement and renowned figures such as Emerson and Thoreau. What is new about American spiritual seeking in the post-1960s era is its pervasiveness. Prior to the 1960s, only a small proportion of Americans attempted to fulfill their spiritual needs outside the domain of denominational religion. Since then, a vastly expanded spiritual marketplace has produced a growing trend toward uncoupling religion and spirituality. The autonomy associated with spiritual seeking is different. This chapter charts a path that may have relatively little truck with the ways established in traditional religious beliefs and practices. It is constituted by a personal autonomy that tends to be somewhat removed from, rather than in singular conversation with, church-based religion.

Keywords:   spiritual seeking, transcendentalist movement, Emerson, Thoreau, denominational religion, spiritual needs

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