Social scientists and commentators are fond of pointing to signs that religion is declining or disappearing, citing everything from membership losses to fewer people who believe in a literal hell and the number of church buildings that are empty. But what if those aren’t the right measures? Scholars have increasingly been answering that question by pointing to ”lived religion.” Religion as lived encompasses all the ways we experience life – through our bodies, emotions, and aesthetic sensibility, by making things and telling stories that remind us of the sacred, and by finding a moral center to live by. All those things happen inside churches and synagogues and mosques, but they also happen in everyday life. They can be very personal, but they are also shaped by communities and traditions.
Brown, Callum G. Religion and the Demographic Revolution: Women and Secularization in Canada, Ireland, UK, and USA Since the 1960s. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Chaves, Mark. American Religion: Contemporary Trends. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.
Hummel, Leonard M., James Frances Maynard and Mary Clark Moschella. Pastoral Bearings: Lived Religion and Pastoral Theology. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010.
Peterson, Paul Silas. The Decline of Established Christianity in the Western World: Interpretations and Responses. New York, NY: Routledge, 2018.
Santana, Richard W. and Gregory Erickson. Religion and Popular Culture: Rescripting the Sacred. Second ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2016.
Seamon, Erika B. Interfaith Marriage in America: the Transformation of Religion and Christianity. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012.
Winston, Diane, ed. Small Screen, Big Picture: Television and Lived Religion. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009.
Ammerman, Nancy T. “Finding Religion in Everyday Life.” Sociology of Religion 75, no.2 (2014): 189-207.
Brauer, Simon. “The Surprising Predictable Decline of Religion in the United States.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 57, no.4 (December 2018): 654-675. DOI: 10.1111/jssr.12551.
Denton, Melinda Lundquist. “Family Structure, Family Disruption, and Profiles of Adolescent Religiosity.” The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 51, no.1 (March 2012): 42 (23). DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2011.01619.x.
Ellison, Christopher, Amy Burdette, and Terrence Hill. “Blessed Assurance: Religion, Anxiety, Tranquility Among U.S. Adults.” Social Science Research 38, no.3 (September 2009): 656-667. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2009.02.002.
Stuaffer, Dana. “Tocqueville on the Modern Moral Situation: Democracy and the Decline of Devotion.” The American Political Science Review 108, no.4 (November 2014): 772-782. DOI: 10.1017/S0003055414000458.
Schwadel, Phillip. “Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Religious Activities and Beliefs.” Social Science Research 40. No.1 (2011): 181-192. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.09.006.
In the News
On February 24,2019, Derek Thompson published an article in The Atlantic titled “Workism Is Making Americans Miserable”, where he argues that one’s identity today revolves around one’s professional career and not one’s religious community.