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Postsecularism refers to a number of theories concerning the persistence and resurgence of religion in the present.

In November 2017, the Catholic News Agency reported Vatican Secretary for Relations with the States Archbishop Paul Gallagher indicating that religion is no longer a forbidden subject in European politics.[1]

According to Gallagher:

Many diplomatic services throughout Europe and elsewhere are now running courses, literally accelerated courses to make up time on religion,” he said, explaining that political leaders are beginning to recognize that “the world is a very religious place."[2]

In 2016, the website Modern Diplomacy indicated:

...there are signs that the anti-religion virulence is in abeyance in Europe and one who detects those signs is none other than the present day European philosopher Jürgen Habermas...

Jürgen Habermas must have surely read Held’s influential essay. Habermas is very much involved in the debate on the EU identity and has even signed manifestos on the same with Umberto Eco, the late Derrida and other influential philosophers. In 2005 Habermas delivered a lecture on the occasion of the Holberg prize which then became an article in 2006. See “Religion in the public sphere” by J. Habermas, in European Journal of Philosophy 14: 1-25. The core of that essay is that “secular citizens in Europe must learn to live, the sooner the better, in a post-secular society and in so doing they will be following the example of religious citizens, who have already come to terms with the ethical expectations of democratic citizenship. So far secular citizens have not been expected to make a similar effort.”

Habermas addresses the debate in terms of John Rawls’s concept of “public use of reason.” At the beginning of the article Habermas introduces two closely linked ideas: on the one hand the increasing isolation of Europe from the rest of the world in terms of its religious configurations, and on the other hand the notion of “multiple modernities.” He challenges the notion that Europe is the lead society in the modernizing process and invites his fellow secular Europeans to what he calls “a self reflective transcending of the secularist self-understanding of Modernity,” an attitude that goes beyond mere tolerance in as much as it necessarily engenders feelings of respect for the world view of the religious person, so that their pronouncements don’t automatically engender derision and contempt, a la Voltaire.[3]

The Science Recorder declared in 2015:

Science and religion are often presented as opposing world views, but a recent study in the American Sociological Review published Jan. 29, suggests that for some Americans, this binary construction (i.e. science vs. religion) is a false dichotomy.

Authors Timothy O’Brien, an assistant professor at the University of Evansville and co-author Shiri Noy, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wyoming, call these Americans the “Post-Seculars,” and were surprised to find that one in five Americans belongs to this group, a sizable number given that most of these individuals have gone “unnoticed before in endless rounds of debates pitting” science against religion.

According to O’Brien, “[The Post-Seculars] are pretty knowledgeable and appreciative about science and technology but…are also very religions and reject certain scientific theories.”[4]

For more information, please see: List of atheist and agnostic pseudosciences

See also

Recommended books

  • Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival, and Revival by Christopher Marsh, 2011, ISBN 13: 9781441112477

External links


  1. Religious freedom, not secularism, key to Europe’s future, Vatican official says, Catholic News Agency, 2017
  2. Religious freedom, not secularism, key to Europe’s future, Vatican official says, Catholic News Agency, 2017
  3. [Jurgen Habermas on the Vision of a Post-Secular Europe] BY EMANUEL L. PAPARELLA, PH.D., Modern Diplomacy
  4. Study discusses emerging trend in science-versus-religion debate: Post-Secularism by Chiamaka Nwakeze | Science Recorder | January 30, 2015
  5. Publisher's Weekly Review of The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics by Peter L. Berger