Danielle Hervieu-Leger view on postmodernity and religion is that contemporary society is characterised by a lack of commitment to any particular religious tradition— instead, individuals make personal choices about what aspects of religion they wish to incorporate into their lives. This individualised approach to religion has led to a kind of “cultural amnesia” in which people are no longer familiar with the history and traditions of their own faith. As a result, people have become consumers of religion, spiritual shoppers who pick and choose what elements they wish to keep while discarding those that don’t fit their personal beliefs or lifestyles.
Pilgrims and Converts
Hervieu-Leger uses the terms “pilgrim” and “convert” to describe these spiritual shoppers. Pilgrims are those who remain within one particular faith tradition but take an individualised approach to it, picking and choosing which aspects they wish to uphold while disregarding others. For example, some Catholics may choose not to follow certain teachings on sexuality even as they remain committed members of the Catholic Church. Conversely, converts are those who move from one faith tradition to another, selecting different elements from each one in search of a personalised set of beliefs. They may borrow bits and pieces from multiple religions without ever fully committing themselves to any one tradition.
The Impact on Religion
Hervieu-Leger argues that these trends have had a profound impact on traditional institutions such as churches and temples. As more people adopt an individualistic approach towards faith, long-standing traditions are being challenged or discarded altogether in favour of new forms of spirituality that reflect modern sensibilities. This has led some scholars to suggest that religion is being replaced by something entirely new—what Hervieu-Leger calls “pluralized spiritualities.” While this may be true for some people, it does not necessarily mean that traditional forms of faith will disappear completely; rather, it suggests a shift away from rigid adherence towards something more fluid and open-ended.
Danielle Hervieu-Leger examines how postmodern society has transformed religious life around the world. Individuals no longer adhere strictly to any single faith but instead act as consumers or spiritual shoppers—picking and choosing which aspects they wish to keep while discarding those that don’t fit their personal beliefs or lifestyles. As more people take this individualised approach towards religion, long-standing traditions are being challenged or discarded altogether in favour of new forms of spirituality – leading some scholars to suggest that we are witnessing the emergence of pluralized spiritualities in postmodern society today. It remains to be seen whether traditional forms of faith will survive this transformation or fade away into obscurity; only time will tell!