Postsecularism

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

On August 8, 2018, Michael Clune wrote in The Atlantic: "There’s been a lot of talk in literary and philosophical circles of a new “post-secular” age."[1]

The theologian and Harvard University academic Harvey Cox asserted that grassroots movements such as fundamentalism and the Charismatic movement/pentecostalism are significant religious forces that are resistant to secularization forces.[2][3] In her book The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong wrote: "One of the most startling developments of the late 20th century has been the emergence within every major religious tradition of a militant piety known as 'fundamentalism'… this religious resurgence has taken many observers by surprise."[4] Today, even the highly secularized public and political sphere of France is showing a new and more open attitude towards religion.[5]

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.[6]

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."[7]

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.[8]

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.”[9]

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

Postsecularism and scholars

See also: Desecularization and Growth of global desecularization and Acceleration of 21st century desecularization

Jens Köhrsen), a professor for religion and economics at the Centre for Religion, Economy and Politics (ZRWP)[10], wrote:

[ Jürgen Habermas ] ...argues that a new age, the age of post-secularity, has begun. Previously vastly secularized societies, like the highly developed countries of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, would experience a new awareness of religion and attribute a new public role to religion. From now on, religion would constitute a relevant dialogue partner in the public debates of these societies (Habermas, 2008). Moreover, Habermas presents a normative argument about public religion: he recommends that post-secular societies should facilitate religious contributions to the public sphere. Religious reasoning could contribute to public debates about the ethical values of contemporaneous and future societies. Habermas believes that modern societies might find some answers to the moral questions of our time by listening to religion in public debates (Habermas, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008). A similar position to that of Habermas is proposed by Leclerc (2001) and French sociologist Willaime (2004a, 2004b, 2005[1995]: 76-78, 2008). Willaime observes that even the highly secularized public and political sphere of France is exhibiting a new, more open attitude towards religion. The hypersecularity of France would stimulate a restructuration process of religion. According to Willaime, religion can form an important resource for public debates and be engaged in the identity construction process of individuals and collectives.[11]

Recommended books

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

See also

External links

Notes

  1. I Don’t Believe in Aliens Anymore by Michael Clune, The Atlantic, August 8, 2018
  2. Publisher's Weekly Review of The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics by Peter L. Berger
  3. Kirkus Reviews- FIRE FROM HEAVEN: Pentecostalism, Spirituality, and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century by Harvey Cox
  4. Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, p. 9
  5. How religious is the public sphere? – A critical stance on the debate about public religion and post-secularity, Draft Version, Jens Koehrsen (Köhrsen). Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, Germany. École des hautes études en sciences socials, France. Published in: Acta Sociologica 55 (3), S. 273-288.
  6. Religious freedom, not secularism, key to Europe’s future, Vatican official says, Catholic News Agency, 2017
  7. Religious freedom, not secularism, key to Europe’s future, Vatican official says, Catholic News Agency, 2017
  8. [Jurgen Habermas on the Vision of a Post-Secular Europe] BY EMANUEL L. PAPARELLA, PH.D., Modern Diplomacy
  9. Study discusses emerging trend in science-versus-religion debate: Post-Secularism by Chiamaka Nwakeze | Science Recorder | January 30, 2015
  10. Prof. Dr. Jens Köhrsen, University website faculty page
  11. How religious is the public sphere? – A critical stance on the debate about public religion and post-secularity, Draft Version, Jens Koehrsen (Köhrsen). Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, Germany. École des hautes études en sciences socials, France. Published in: Acta Sociologica 55 (3), S. 273-288.
  12. Publisher's Weekly Review of The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics by Peter L. Berger