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Reading Genesis after Darwin$
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Stephen C. Barton and David Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383355

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383355.001.0001

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The Plausibility of Creationism

The Plausibility of Creationism

A Sociological Comment

(p.217) 13 The Plausibility of Creationism
Reading Genesis after Darwin

Mathew Guest (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the significance of creationist belief in the contemporary Western world. The history of creationism is traced from the roots of fundamentalist Protestantism, and twentieth- and twenty-first-century sympathy for creationist beliefs is measured via attitudinal survey data from the United Kingdom and the United States. What follows is an analysis of creationism as a sociological phenomenon. Drawing from empirical examples and the work of scholars such as Peter Berger and Nancy Ammerman, the chapter discusses how creationist ideas function within the social contexts in which they are affirmed, debated, and challenged, paying particular attention to how they acquire plausibility among those who hold them. It concludes by arguing that contemporary creationism may be understood as an expression of what Christian Smith calls "engaged orthodoxy," i.e., the evangelical tendency to engage combatively with the challenges of the modern world and to draw strength and cohesion from the resulting sense of conflict.

Keywords:   creationism, fundamentalism, plausibility, Peter Berger, Nancy Ammerman, Christian Smith, engaged orthodoxy

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