Kee, Howard Clark. Who Are the People of God? Early Christian Models of Community (New Haven, CT: Yale U. Press, 1995). The response of the early church to the challenges of culture is one of the most important resources for the church today. Dr. Kee points out that two of the seven churches John addresses in his early chapters are in the cities of Smyrna and Pergamum, strongholds of the imperial cult, or worship of the Roman emperor (pp. 131-134; cf. R. Clapp, A Peculiar People, p. 96).
Kelley, Dean M. Why Conservative Churches Are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion (New York: Harper & Row, 1972). An official with the NCC, and himself a liberal, Kelley's research became a classic critique of mainline liberalism. He discovered that growing conservative congregations were more successful in explaining "the ultimate meaning of life" (p. xxii) and more bold in making demands of their members: "a strong church is exclusive and strict" (pp. 84, 95). Kelley found a strong correlation between the "strictness" and the "strength" of a church: "A strong organization that loses its strictness will also lose its strength" (p. 96). He also found a tendency among churches compromise their standards and thus weaken their strength: "Strictness tends to deteriorate into leniency, which results in social weakness in place of strength..traits of strictness are harder to maintain in an organization than traits of leniency" (p. 96). Kelley concluded that: "declining liberal churches must take major steps in [that] direction," i.e. "a reassertion of strictness" (p. 132). His thesis has since been confirmed by such major sociological studies as that of R. Finke and R. Stark's, The Churching of America (1992).
Keyes, Alan. Our Character, Our Future: Reclaiming America's Moral Destiny (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996). Dr. Keyes holds a Ph.D. in governmental affairs from Harvard U. and is a former ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. An outspoken black Christian statesman, Dr. Keyes, who made a bid in the last presidential race, calls upon his fellow Americans to return to their roots in the Declaration of Independence, and in the divine authority which that founding document presupposed: "The Declaration offers us a ground for freedom—but not if we reject that authority from which that freedom comes" (p. 132). Dr. Keyes believes that Christians have a God-given responsibility, as the "salt" and "leaven" of Christ, to seek the renewal of American culture: "what behooves us now as we face the disintegration that has resulted from the loss of conscience, is that we must…call this nation back to those principles that bind us to God's authority…back to God and to God's relationship to America…Those of us who are the savor of the salt, and those who are the leaven in the loaf, we will have to take the challenge of cultural renewal personally…there is really only one true and sure way to revive the spirit and reclaim the destiny of America. That is to seek the face of God—so that he might look upon our prayers and heal our land. This republic was not a dream. It was a prayer" (p. 134).
Kierkegaard, Soren. For Self-Examination and Judge for Yourself, Kierkegaard's Writings, Vol. XXI, ed. & trans. Howard V. and Edna H. Hong (Princeton, NJ: Princeton U. Press, 1990).
Kilpatrick, William Kirk. Psychological Seduction: The Failure of Modern Psychology (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1983); The Emperor's New Clothes (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1985).
Kosmin, Barry A. Research Report: The National Survey of Religious Identification (New York: CUNY Graduate Center, 1991). Kosmin, a sociologist at CUNY, supervised the National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI), "the largest survey ever devoted to American religious affiliation," in 1990. The results were published in this report, one year later. Whereas most religious surveys are based on a polling population of less than 2,000 persons, the NSRI involved interviews with 113,000 randomly sampled Americans. The survey demonstrated that many more Americans claim to be church members than the current membership figures of any of those churches reveal. "An overwhelming number of Americans (86.2%) consider themselves to be Christians;" those reporting "No religion" were 8.2%. The NSRI results were also published and evaluated in Kosmin's joint publication with S.P. Lachman, One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society (1993).
Kosmin, Barry A. and Seymour P. Lachman. One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society (New York: Harmony Books, 1993). Sociologists at the City University of NY, Kosmin teaches at the Graduate Center and Lachman is the university dean. This volume is based primarily upon the NSRI (see Kosmin, Research Report), in the context of other current sociological data. One of the themes of this volume is the "unifying" function of Christianity in America: "Religion in late 20th—century America has become a unifying bond that cuts across ethnic, racial, and to a certain extent, social divides. America is therefore almost unique, since in other parts of the world religious differences have generated great tensions, divisions, and, at times, open warfare" (p. 12). It is noteworthy that the authors associate this "unifying bond" with "civil religion": In America "religion has become a powerful and unifying factor in bringing different peoples together…Here, all religions both compete and coalesce with an American civil religion, which blends together the sacred and the secular in an attempt to give the United States a special mission in the world" (p. 279).
Other significant conclusions in this volume include the following: (1) "the importance of religion" includes its function in "setting some limits on human behavior," and in preventing the kind of "barbarism" which has taken place under "both Fascist and Communist governments" (p. 9); (2) "despite his or her more frequent church attendance, the thoughts and values of the average churchgoer are less often derived from religious sources than from secular ones" (p. 13); (3) "women (66%) are far more likely than men (48%) to attach great importance to religion, and… men (18%) are more than twice as likely as women (8%) to say that it is not very important to them" (p. 210); (4) "less than half those under 30 (46%) say that religion is very important to them, whereas among those who are 50 and older, 70% consider religion of great importance to them" (p. 210); (5) "what we have witnessed in the latter part of the 20th century is the growing secularization of a self-described religious people" (p. 279); (6) "Politics is in large part a function of culture, and at the heart of American culture is religion" (p. 281); (7) "There appears to be a collective schizophrenia whereby the public says one thing, with apparent sincerity, in answer to public-opinion polls and acts quite differently" (p. 282).
The authors conclude: "Modern religion seems to have lost touch with its roots, which were historically linked to death and the preparation for death. In the past, religion not only supported the social system and provided for a moral and ethical base to society, but it also helped to explain the purpose of life and the individual's own mortality…In a society where the thought of personal mortality is avoided, religion, regardless of strong identification, will continue to play a less profound role in a person's life" (p. 283).
Kristol, Irving. Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea (New York: The Free Press, 1995).
Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: U. Chicago Press, 1970). A former physicist whose interests led him to become a historian of science, Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions has become a classic (reprinted in a rev. ed. in 1982). Kuhn's study of Galileo and Newton led him in turn to Aristotelian physics, which he failed to understand until he was able to catch the Aristotelian worldview, or "paradigm." In Aristotle's conceptual universe, all objects were envisioned to possess dispositions toward their 'natural end' (e.g. heavy objects being disposed toward the earth, and light ones toward the heavens). Galileo and Newton were forced to jettison this paradigm completely and to find a whole new way of looking at the world. Kuhn concluded that "normal science" consists in large part of "some set of received beliefs" (p. 4); and that scientific development proceeds less by gradual, cumulative progress, and more through "scientific revolutions," or, "paradigm shifts" ( like that between Aristotle and Newton. He believed that new paradigms grew out of reaction to preceding ones: leading to "extraordinary investigations," and finally to "a new set of commitments, a new basis for the practice of science" (p. 6).
Challenging the stereotypes which characterized science as completely neutral and objective, and which contrasted science and faith as opposites, Kuhn asserts that: "What a man sees depends both upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual-conceptual experience has taught him to see. In the absence of such training there can only be, in William James's phrase, 'a bloomin' buzzin' confusion'" (p. 112). Thus, the scientist cannot avoid the dimension of "faith": "A decision between alternate ways of practicing science is called for… based less on past achievement than on future promise…[One] must have faith that the new paradigm will succeed with the many large problems that confront it, knowing only that the older paradigm has failed with a few. A decision of that kind can only be made on faith" (p. 157). Many scholars now refer to postmodernism as a "paradigm shift."