Andersen, et al. “A Spiritual Revolution in Denmark?”

October 2, 2013

Andersen, Peter B., Peter Gundelach, and Peter Luchau.  2013.  A Spiritual Revolution in Denmark?  Journal of Contemporary Religion 28(3): 385-400.

Abstract: Based on data from the Danish part of the European Values Study 1981–2008, this article explores the validity of the claim for a spiritual revolution as proposed by Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead. The article suggests an operationalisation of spirituality. The results of the analyses are that religious values—Christian faith as well as spirituality—tend to be stable over an individual’s life course. This suggests that, if there is a spiritual revolution, it must be the product of cohort replacement. If a spiritual revolution is taking place, Christian faith would be expected to decline in younger cohorts while spirituality would increase, but an analysis of cohort support for Christian faith and spirituality from 1981 to 2008 shows that both were constant across cohorts. Thus Danish data contain no indication that a spiritual revolution is taking place or will take place. Finally, we show that, contrary to theoretical expectations, spirituality and Christian faith are strongly correlated. A closer analysis reveals an indirect and more complicated support for parts of the theory since the two variables are explained by different factors and it shows that Christian faith, but not spirituality, is correlated with morality.

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