Quaker Religious Thought


"Ben" Pink Dandelion's book, The Cultivation of Conformity: Towards a General Theory of Internal Secularisation, is a serious examination of religious expression using British Quakerism as a test case. Even for one like me-who is not trained in the methods of the social–scientific study of religion, which the book employs–The Cultivation of Conformity is immensely useful to understand the changing dynamics of Quakerism, and Quakerism’s relationship to culture. Dandelion is a British Quaker and the foremost sociologist of Quakerism. His book builds on decades of research, presents a clear-eyed analysis of Quakerism and advances the study of religion in a way that will appeal beyond the boundaries of Quakerism. Dandelion’s book offers a new theory of religious dynamics for the secular age we live in. There are many, many takeaways in The Cultivation of Conformity, but let me just state one at the beginning: one should not discount the effects of secularity and secularization simply because one is a person of faith. Building on the work of Charles Taylor and others, Dandelion describes how for persons who live in North America and Europe, secularity defines the era we live in, including the faith we do, or do not, hold (see 38-39).



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