This course began by raising the question of how to understand religious change in the Sixties. You have looked at ways in which the period could be seen as one of religious crisis, but have also explored the ways in which religious innovations were an important feature of the period. One of the underlying aspects of Wicca (which is a commonality amongst other religious practice in the sixties) involved a sense of ‘seekership’ for authenticity and, in different ways, subjective experience and expressive individualism. The Sixties were a period of religious decline and renewal – not ‘either/or’, but ‘both/and’. The idea of a ‘spiritual revolution’ begins to appear persuasive, not only when looking at the long Sixties, but also its legacies. More subjective forms of spirituality, both within and outside Christianity, are increasingly the new normal. As Roof notes, seekers have increasingly come to control mainstream religious institutions, and the language of ‘journeys’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘inner self’ is equally likely to be found in Christian congregations, yoga classes, and the speeches of politicians (1999). The innovations of the Sixties – the ‘spiritual revolution’, if we wish to call it that – have profoundly influenced religion today.
This free course is an adapted extract from the Open University courseand is also one of four OpenLearn courses exploring the notion of the Sixties as a ‘revolutionary’ period.