The Death of Christian Britain examines how the nation's core religious culture has been destroyed. It challenges the generally held view that secularisation has been a long and gradual process beginning with the industrial revolution, and instead proposes that it has been a catastrophic and abrupt cultural revolution starting in the 1960s. This book explores what it has meant to be 'religious' and 'irreligious' during the last 200 years. The concept of secularisation was created by Enlightenment rationality and scientific method, and led to the Victorian obsession with counting churchgoers and non-churchgoers which endures in today's focus on the 'church in crisis'. Brown challenges this approach by shifting attention from statistics to the media, demonstrating that from 1800 to 1960 people drew on novels, magazines, obituaries and tracts for the Christian language, morality and narrative structures with which to tell their own life stories in autobiography and oral history.
But this personal Christian identity broke down suddenly in the 'swinging sixties' when new media, new gender roles and the moral revolution dramatically ended people's conception that they lived Christian lives. The Death of Christian Britain uses the latest techniques to offer new formulations of religion and secularisation. By listening to people's voices rather than purely counting heads, it offers a fresh history of de-christianisation, and predicts that the British experience since the 1960s is emblematic of the destiny of the whole of western Christianity.