2nd Edition

The Death of Christian Britain Understanding Secularisation, 1800–2000

By Callum G. Brown Copyright 2009
    320 Pages
    by Routledge

    320 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Death of Christian Britain examines how the nation’s dominant religious culture has been destroyed. Callum Brown challenges the generally held view that secularization was a long and gradual process dating from the industrial revolution. Instead, he argues that it has been a catastrophic and abrupt cultural revolution starting in the 1960s. Using the latest techniques of gender analysis, and by listening to people's voices rather than purely counting heads, the book offers new formulations of religion and secularization.

    In this expanded second edition, Brown responds to commentary on his ideas, reviews the latest research, and provides new evidence to back his claims.

    1. Introduction  2. The Problem with 'Religious Decline'  3. The Salvation Economy  4. Angels: Women in Discourse and Narrative 1800–1950  5. Heathens: Men in Discourse and Narrative 1800–1950  6. Personal Testimony and Religion 1800–1950  7. 'Unimpeachable Witnesses': The Statistics of 'Christian Progress' 1800–1950  8. The 1960s and Secularisation  9. The End of a Long Story  10. Postscript: The Mortality of Christendom Reconsidered


    Callum Brown is Professor of Religious and Cultural History at the University of Dundee. His publications include Religion and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain (2006) and Postmodernism for Historians (2005).

    'A tremendously impressive book and wonderful social history.' – Professor Niall Ferguson, Start the Week, Radio 4

    'This book should be read by anybody who cares about the future of religion. [Brown's] statistics are convincing and disquieting. The personal testimonies he quotes are moving and revealing. He shows clearly that Christianity, as we have known it in this country, is in its death throes.' – Karen Armstrong, The Independent

    'A very brave, readable book, and a marvellous social history lesson ... Brown has a wonderful final sentence: "Britain is showing the rest of the world how religion can die." I hope for all our sakes he is wrong. But this is a powerful wake-up call.' – Antonia Swinson, Scotland on Sunday

    'Church leaders should not ignore this book.' – Patrick Comerford, Irish Times

    'Can Christianity change radically enough to discover new life or is it destined, by desperately clinging to its old ways, or to die? ... Callum Brown plunges bravely into one of the most complex debates of our era in this engaging book. He does not claim that we are all atheists now, but asserts that a massive shift in our self-understanding as a nation has occurred, which has reduced Christianity to the status of an eccentric and irrelevant sub-culture in a dynamically plural society ... it exactly mirrors my own theological experience.' – Richard Holloway, Bishop of Edinburgh, The Scotsman

    'A study which deserves the attention of all who are seriously concerned either with the history or with the future of British Christianity.' – David L. Edwards, Tablet

    'At last we have a book that may have broken the mould Callum Brown has given us some highly significant and innovative ways to think about the "problem" of religion.' – David Nash, New Humanist