Critical Issues in American Religious History identifies fifteen key, chronologically arranged issues that have prompted considerable debate and discussion over the years. The distinctive element of this work is the singular thematic thread which runs from cover to cover: America's religious experience reflects four interrelated dimensions of religious tension. The carefully selected primary and secondary materials speak to the tension between the secular and sacred, beliefs and behaviors, inclusion and exclusion, and conflict and consensus. Each chapter theme is woven around a particular critical issue pertaining to one or more of these four tensions.
Ideally suited for classroom use, Mathisen's work enlarges the reader's critical thinking through an examination of primary and secondary sources of America's religious past. Special features in each chapter include: -- Introductory commentary-- Primary and secondary source readings-- Questions for reflection and discussion-- Suggested readings for further study