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Sacro-Egoism and the Shifting Paradigm of Religiosity

Issue: Vol 11 No. 2 (2008) IR 11.2

Journal: Implicit Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies

DOI: 10.1558/imre.v11i2.153


Utilizing the methodology of the Kendal Project (Heelas et al. 2005), data collected from McMinnville, Oregon, was compared with data gathered from Kendal, England, to test British and American sociological theories of religion and specifically the “Spiritual Revolution” theory within the state of Oregon. The McMinnville Project evidence suggests that rather than a spiritual revolution in Oregon, by which churchgoing is declining and interest in a holistic milieu is expanding, “Sacro-Egoism” is the phenomenon that best describes the nature of personal spirituality in Oregon (and potentially the West as a whole). It points toward the relationship between secularization and the self, participation in religious practices and belief, and the emergence of a new, radical, individualized expression of faith. This paper contains a description of Sacro-Egoism and outlines key features of this modern personal approach to religiosity and spirituality: a radical authority/priority of the self, an antagonism or ambivalence to institutionalism, a personal or pragmatic commitment to the spiritual journey (specifically concerning Jesus and the Bible), and an openness to and toleration of non-traditional beliefs and practices.

Author: John S. Knox

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