Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Why Christians Care About Sex

new study out this week shows widening gaps in how different demographics in America approach sexuality and family. The Relationships in America study, produced by the Austin Institute, looks at “how social forces, demography, and religion continue to shape attitudes about family and intimate relationships.” The findings are notable, boosted by a survey that draws from 15,738 respondents ages eighteen to sixty, a very large and representative sample of the general population of the United States. Continue Reading »

The Coming Methodist Revival?

These days, when outsiders consider Methodism, they tend to quickly assume that it is just withering away on its deathbed. But before checking for a pulse, observers ought to call to mind its history, particularly its vigorous beginnings. John Wesley preached to thousands from his father’s grave after being muzzled by the Anglican Church, and when the movement he spearheaded crossed the Atlantic, American Methodism spread on horseback as its dedicated circuit-riders expanded their territory along with the young nation. According to Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, in 1776, Methodists made up only a sliver of the religious pie, just some 2.5 percent of worshipers. By 1850, however, Methodism was by far the largest expression of Christianity in the United States, claiming over a third of all the nation’s religious adherents. Continue Reading »

The Decline and Rise
of Secular Judaism

In his 1782 book Letters from an American Farmer, John de Crèvecœur asked the most famous and important question in American history: “What then is the American, this new man?” The authentic American leaves behind him “all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new . . . . Continue Reading »

The “American” Religion

The great contest is over the culture, the guiding ideas and habits of mind and heart that inform the way we understand the world and our place in it. Christians who, knowingly or unknowingly, embrace the model of “Christ without culture”—meaning Christianity in indifference to culture—are . . . . Continue Reading »

Metaphysical America

A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion by catherine l. albanese yale university press, 640 pages, $40 If one is looking for a fascinating tour of the many sideshows of the carnival that is religion in America, Catherine L. Albanese is the guide you want. . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles