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By Peter Berger, Anton Zijderveld

Most sensible sociologists map out how humans can reclaim their convictions from the dual hazards of fundamentalism and a lack of ethical values, exploring the jobs of humor, doubt, and social norms in moderating perspectives to prevent turning into fanatical.

summary: most sensible sociologists map out how humans can reclaim their convictions from the dual hazards of fundamentalism and a lack of ethical values, exploring the jobs of humor, doubt, and social norms in moderating perspectives to prevent changing into fanatical

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Additional resources for In praise of doubt : how to have convictions without becoming a fanatic

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In the history of American religion, there has been a steady expansion of the zone of tolerance. First, it was tolerance between and among all or most Protestant groups. Then Catholics and Jews came to be included. In 1955 Will Herberg published his influential book Protestant—Catholic—Jew, in which he argued very plausibly that there had emerged three authentic ways of being American, each under a broad religious label. In the half-century since then, Eastern Christian Orthodoxy has acquired legitimacy as another authentic American religious identity.

Berger and Anton C. Zijderveld Wenn wir die Zweifel nicht haetten, Wo waere dann frohe Gewissheit? If we did not have the doubts, Where then would be joyful certainty? —GOETHE Contents Epigraph Acknowledgments 1. The Many Gods of Modernity 2. The Dynamics of Relativization 3. Relativism 4. Fundamentalism 5. Certainty and Doubt 6. The Limits of Doubt 7. The Politics of Moderation Searchable Terms About the Authors Copyright About the Publisher ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The idea of this book came out of a project of the Institute of Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University, which had been directed by Peter Berger, now a senior research fellow.

Once they give up the project of restoring or creating anew a religious monopoly, they must somehow acknowledge their competitors. ” Classically, historians and sociologists of religion have distinguished between two types of religious institution—the church, an inclusive body into which most members are born, and the sect, a small, exclusive body that individuals join. Niebuhr added the denomination, a distinctively American category. Its social character is closer to the church than the sect, but it’s joined rather than born into by individuals, and it explicitly or implicitly recognizes the right of its competitors to exist.

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