Published on May 30, 2013 by Heritage Foundation
In “How the West Really Lost God”, leading cultural critic Mary Eberstadt delivers a powerful new theory about the decline of religion in the Western world. The conventional wisdom is that the West first experienced religious decline, followed by the decline of the family. Eberstadt, however, marshals an array of research, from historical data on family decline in pre-Revolutionary France to contemporary popular culture both in the United States and Europe, showing that the reverse has also been true — the undermining of the family has further undermined Christianity itself.
Commentary from the Blogger:
I read this work, and in my review on Amazon, I wrote:
I think this book will one day be a seminal work in regards to religion; however, there are some issues with the theory. In the Progressive Era, progressive politicians in the United States were literally taking a page out of the playbook from Europe’s secular leaders, so in that sense, which one came first: “the chicken or the egg?” is not really the heart of the issue. Also, there is a good deal of evidence from demographics, public opinion and psychiatric studies to reverse the trend that this book presupposes – although you cannot argue against the secular trend in the West.
There is must to debate regarding Eberstadt’s theory, but in an earlier article published today, I focused on the question of the future of religion in American life. There is little doubt that most Americans believe that religion is losing influence, but most Americans – by far – also believe that a proliferation of religion would be positive for society.
Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile theory to hear out, and as I said, “I think this book will one day be a seminal work.”