chapter  11
35 Pages

Berger’s anthropological theology

ByBERNICE MARTIN

In an essay he wrote in 1998 for a Christian journal, Peter Berger summed up the intellectual conclusions of a lifetime. He begins with a typically arresting first paragraph:

In the course of my career as a sociologist of religion I made one big mistake and had one big insight (arguably not such a bad record). The big mistake which I shared with almost everyone who worked in this area in the 1950s and 1960s, was to believe that modernity necessarily leads to a decline in religion. The big insight was that pluralism undermines the taken-for-grantedness of beliefs and values. It took me some time to relate the insight to the mistake. And it has only been very recently that I understood the implications for the position of Protestantism in the contemporary world.