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Humble ApologeticsDefending the Faith Today$
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John G. Stackhouse

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138078

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195138074.001.0001

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(p.54) 4 Consumerism
Humble Apologetics

John G. Stackhouse (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Consumerism is an outlook that frames everything in terms of consumption by the sovereign self. After having scrutinized basic convictions of consumerism, this chapter lists the effects of consumerism on the shape of religion in the private and public sphere. In the private sphere, religion becomes viewed as a consumer good; religions themselves become segmented into parts from which one may freely pick and choose according to one's needs, i.e., “Sheilaism.” Religion is selected or constructed by the self for the self, evident even in traditional Christian circles in the practice of “church‐shopping.” In the public sphere, consumerism reshapes religion such that any traits of religion contrary to the consumerist impulse are discarded. The chapter concludes, however, with the hopeful suggestion that because authentic Christianity is countercultural, it has the possibility of revitalizing modernity, rather than merely perpetuating it.

Keywords:   consumerism, convictions, countercultural, modernity, private, public, Sheilaism, sovereign self

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