Andrew M(oran) Greeley Alan L. Mintz - Essay

Alan L. Mintz

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In Unsecular Man and in an earlier volume, What Do We Believe?, [Greeley] demonstrates that in the past twenty years there have been very few changes in the high degree of group affiliation and religious belief among Americans. Where most of us would expect to find significant decline Greeley shows us evidence of even more astonishing continuity. Why is this so? To explain, Greeley posits a universal and unchanging need for "meaning systems" which provide "an ultimate explanation" of the world, a need which penetrates and transcends man's rationalism and self-sufficiency precisely at critical moments: the sense of bafflement about the nature of things, the need to integrate "the troubling forces of...

(The entire section is 690 words.)