Despite the changes in technology, we still die. We still love. We still feel ourselves incomplete in the universe. We still suffer, and we still do sometimes right and often wrong. Whether or not we imagine that spiritual questions should be present in culture, they are present. In every age, including our own, they form and channel our anxieties, even when we know it least. (p. xxii).
Joseph Bottom, a widely published and influential essayist with a PhD in medical philosophy, claims that the manic spiritual anxiety of our age in America was caused by the collapse of the mainline Protestant Churches, which were originally a source of consensus and unity. As Protestantism splintered apart with its narrow sectarian debates, it has “dwindled to a trickle over the past thirty years, and the Great Church of America has come to an end” (page 85). In his book An Anxious Age, he analyzes our modern culture and the strange combination of arrogance and anxiety from a national-religion perspective.
Honestly, I had difficulty concentrating on this book. The subject fascinates me, but Joseph Bottom is writing from a framework of presuppositions that I am not familiar with and cannot wrap my brain around, even though recently I have read a little bit of Max Weber’s writing in my daughter’s college sociology class. This book is intended to be an update of Max Weber’s sociologic classic The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Perhaps I would do well to start there and then tackle this book again.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.