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'God Made The Country, And Man Made The Town': Some Observations On The Place Of Religion In The Western (Post)Secular City

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Chapter Summary

The famous line 'God made the country, and man made the town' summarizes nicely the reserves on behalf of many believers about the city as a place that is a danger to true faith. This chapter is concerned with the question of how the process of urbanization is related to religion - and Western Christianity in particular - and, conversely, how religions - more in particular religious organisations - adapt to this new milieu and play a role in the urban environment. Reflecting on two key sociological texts by Georg Simmel and Louis Wirth, the chapter presents some observations about how urbanism predisposes to certain ways of life, which in turn are important to religious beliefs and practices. In intellectual - or at least theological - history the notion of the secular city is pre-eminently connected with the best-selling book with the same title written by Harvey Cox in 1965.

Keywords: Georg Simmel; Louis Wirth; religious organisations; secular city; urbanization; Western Christianity



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