Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Secularisms: Charles Taylor The process of disenchantment involves a change in sensibility; one is open to different things, yet one has lost an important.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Secularisms: Charles Taylor The process of disenchantment involves a change in sensibility; one is open to different things, yet one has lost an important."— Presentation transcript:

1 Secularisms: Charles Taylor The process of disenchantment involves a change in sensibility; one is open to different things, yet one has lost an important way in which people used to experience the world. (Sociology 156)

2 Thesis Statements One to three sentences, in the first paragraph – Clearer is better. Thesis should be argumentative: In this paper I will discuss the causes of the Civil War. -- NOT a thesis statement. Slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War. -- Acceptable. The primary cause of the Civil War was slavery, which produced economic, political, and moral conflicts between North and South that ultimately could not be resolved by peaceful means. -- Better. 2

3 #1 According to Putnam & Campbell, how are religion and race/ethnicity related in American society? How does this relationship affect the ethnic diversity of religious congregations? Why are some faith traditions more diverse than others? In your response, use as examples at least two congregations from American Graces vignette chapters. 3

4 #2 According to Putnam & Campbell, how does religious pluralism coexist in relative harmony with religious polarization in the United States? Why is such a phenomenon particular to the US and how did it develop over time? 4

5 #3 Putnam & Campbell describe America as being more religiously observant than any other advanced nation. (p. 543) According to the authors, what are the unique features that are conducive to religiosity in the United States? How does each contribute to Americas high level of religiosity? 5

6 #4 Putnam & Campbell offer a nuanced theory of the relationship between religion and politics in Chapter 12. What is their argument? How do they account for the variation in political activity between different faiths? Is their argument more in line with the thought of Durkheim or of Weber, and in what ways? When responding, be sure to succinctly present what is meant by a Weberian and a Durkheimian approach. 6

7 #5 Putnam & Campbell argue that changes in the character of American religion are integrally tied to social changes in gender, inequality, and ethnic diversity over (ch 8, 9). Select at least two of these transformations to discuss. – What is their argument for how these transformations in society are related to changes in the character of American religion? What evidence do they present to make their argument, and what kind? What do they mean by convergent validation (p. 11) and how do they use data from multiple surveys to support their argument? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their chosen method for analyzing the relationship between social and religious change over time? In order to include discussion of survey design in your response be sure to review Appendix 1. Be as explicit as possible in your essay, and do not assume that the reader is familiar with the text. 7

8 The Secular as a Culturally Specific Category The conceptual genealogy of the secular – Specifically a product of Latin Christendom – Need to think before exporting It starts off as one term in a dyad that distinguishes two dimensions of existence, identifying them by the particular type of time that is essential to each. – On this distinction, there develops another dyad, in which the secular refers to what pertains to a self-sufficient, immanent sphere and is contrasted with what relates to the transcendent realm (often identified as religious). This distinction may undergo a further mutation, via a denial of the transcendent level, into a dyad in which one term refers to the real (secular), and the other refers to what is merely invented (religious) – Or where secular refers to the institutions we really require to live in this world and religious or ecclesiastical refers to optional accessories, which often disturb the course of this-worldly life. (34) 8

9 First period The secular is the lower half of a dyad, the temporal opposed to the eternal and sacred – Certain times, places, persons, and institutions were seen as closely related to the sacred or higher time and others were seen as pertaining to profane time alone. The state is the secular arm of the church – Ordinary parish priests are thus secular because they operate out there in the century, as against those in monastic institutionsregular priestswho live by the rule of their order. Secularization, in this sense, refers to the aftermath of the Reformation. It refers specifically, in this sense, to when certain functions, properties, and institutions were transferred from church control to that of laymen. (32-33) 9

10 Second Period 17 th century on, a conception of social life in which the secular was all there was – No longer marks secular as subordinate to religious, only distinct from. The contrast was no longer with another temporal dimension, in which spiritual institutions had their niche; rather, the secular was, in its new sense, opposed to any claim made in the name of something transcendent of this world and its interests. Religion still has its place, but for the this-worldly purpose of promoting good morals and social order. – The criterion of the good society in this outlook, mutual benefit, was not only emphatically this-worldly but also unconcerned with virtue in the traditional sense. The clear separation of an immanent from a transcendent order in one of the inventions (for better or worse) of Latin Christendom. (32-33) 10

11 Transition Period The clear distinction between religious and secular prepares the ground for the seculars declaration of independence – Deism: God as the artificer of the natural world, in which his will can be discovered. He continues to back up his law with rewards & punishments in the afterlife Thus, some religion, or a certain piety, is a necessary condition of a good social order. But religious authority can enter into competition with secular rulers; it can demand things of the faithful that go beyond, or even against, the demands of good order; it can make irrational claims. So it remains to purge society of superstition, fanaticism, and enthusiasm. – American republic, separation of church & state (33-34) 11

12 Third Period In the French Revolution, the idea emerges that morality must not be dependent on religion. Morality to be based not on faith, but on liberty & reason. Under the Third Republic and since, laïcité is founded on the ideas of the self-sufficiency of the secular and the exclusion of religion. – The basis of this morality is liberty, and in order to hold its own before religion, the morality legitimizing the state has to be based on more than just utility or feeling; it needs a theologie rationnelle, like that of Kant. In France, The insistence is still that the public spaces in which citizens meet must be purified of any religious reference. (33-34) – The French and Americans have different understandings of the secular state Underlies the hijab controversy. – The French understanding is also the Marxist 12

13 The Emergence of the Secular Westerners tend to poorly understand this part of their own history, and thus encounter confusion when they attempt to export secularism. – The stages are not clearly distinguished, as when American secularists often totally confuse the separation of church and state from that of religion and state Rawls The whole thing can generate ethnocentric judgments. If the secular depends on this specific historical process, how can anyone else achieve it? – To claim that the Chinese empire was secular is to apply a distinction (secular/sacred) that had no equivalent in imperial China. But! This misunderstanding could be productive: New redefinitions, starting from the problems that contemporary societies have to solve, often conceive of secularity as an attempt to find fair and harmonious modes of coexistence between religious communities and leave the connotations of the word secular as they have evolved in Western history quietly to the side. (35-36) 13

14 The Emergence of the Secular One of the main vectors during the last six or seven centuries in this civilization has been a steadily increasing emphasis on a religion of personal commitment and devotion, as opposed to forms centered on collective ritual. – The pressure to adopt a more personal, committed, and inward form of religion continuesthrough the preaching of the mendicant friars and others, through the devotional movements...eventually reaching a new stage with the Reformation. – The point of declaring that salvation comes through faith was radically to devalue ritual and external practice in favor of an inner acknowledgement of Christ as savior. Not only among Protestants! The Counter-Reformation also emphasized increased levels of personal piety over ritual worship (37) To take my religion seriously is [now] to take it personallythat is, more devotionally, inwardly, and committed. Ritual is in an important way no longer what religion is really about. (38) 14

15 The Emergence of the Secular We might identify two closely related vectors here: toward personal commitment and toward what came to be understood as the magical elements in religion: practices that suppose and draw on various intracosmic spirits, good or bad, and powers inhering in things (relics, for example). Disenchantment The enchanted self is permeable (for example, by a love potion) while the modern, disenchanted self is buffered from the world. Different modes of experiencing the world. Here you see the difference between a subtraction story and one that considers not only loss but also remaking. On the subtraction story, there can be no epistemic loss in the transition from enchantment to disenchantment; we have just shucked off some false beliefs, baseless fears, and imagined objects. Looked at my way, the process of disenchantment involves a change in sensibility; one is open to different things, yet one has lost an important way in which people used to experience the world. (38-39) Loss and nostalgia: we envoy the frisson that comes from experiencing the real fears of our ancestors (vampires, demons, etc.) 15

16 The Emergence of the Secular The legacy of this process is that we moderns, religious or not, tend to think of religion in terms of beliefs. – The Protestant bias But for many people, the spirit world is not a matter of voluntary, optional belief but a basic feature of everyday experience – Spirits as real to them as the presence of this computer its keyboard at the tips of my fingers is for me. We have great trouble getting our minds around this, and we rapidly reach for intrapsychic explanations, in terms of delusions, projections, and the like. – But one thing that seems clear is that the whole situation of the self in experience is subtly, but significantly, different in these worlds and in ours. We make a sharp distinction between inner and outer, between what is the mind and what is out there in the world. (40) 16

17 The Emergence of the Secular Example: a modern feels depressed. Hes told that its only a hormone imbalance and is relieved. He isnt really sad. His real feelings and desires are those that arise from within his own free mind Will this be true in the future, or will the mind be debunked? – But: The premodern feels depressed. Telling him that he has too much black bile wont help. Black bile doesnt cause melancholy, it is melancholy. Now he just knows how truly melancholic he is. The life of the modern can be controlled, he can take the right medicine, he can avoid situations that upset him. His self is buffered, he is closed off. – The self of the premodern is porous to the spirits, demons and cosmic forces that populate the universe 17

18 The Emergence of the Secular Early religion sanctified the social order, such that it could be impossible to conceive of oneself outside the social matrix, accepted the order of things. – Embedded in both society and the cosmos – Durkheim & Eliade It celebrated by and for the community, and ask for wellbeing and worldly flourishing – Weber – Pagan emphasis on human flourishing has much in common with modern exclusive humanism Postaxial religions (esp. Buddhism and Christianity) reject the world in the name of a higher truth – The order of things is called into question and delegitimized – Strong emphasis on individual thought and practice relative to preaxial religion – But the forms of preaxial religion (communal rituals, identities, etc.) remained, in tension with the implicit individualism of postaxial faiths (44-47) 18

19 The Emergence of the Secular In the long reforming process that took place in Latin Christendom, individual practice was emphasized at the expense of ritual, which was disregarded as magical – The world itself would come to be seen as constituted by individuals. – Efficacy of ritual comes to be inner: it doesnt transform the world, it leaves the participant with a changed inner state Social life was to be purged of its connection to an enchanted cosmos and all vestiges removed of the old complementaries between spiritual and temporal, between a life devoted to God and life in the world, between order and the chaos on which it draws. – Social institutions come to be seen not as divinely ordained, but as human constructs enacted by free actors (47-49) – Secular good order comes to be viewed as the function of religion, meaning that it becomes possible to imagine a purely nonreligious world 19

20 The Emergence of the Secular Multiple interacting vectors: personal commitment and disenchantment, reform and disembedding (individualism) The crucial change here could be described as the possibility of living within a purely immanent order; that is, the possibility of really conceiving of, or imagining, ourselves within such an order, one that could be accounted for on its own terms, which thus leaves belief in the transcendent as a kind of optional extrasomething it had never been before in any human society. – For this to happen, there had to develop a social order, sustained by a social imaginary that had a purely immanent character, which we see arising, for instance, in the modern forms of the public sphere, market economy, and citizen state. (50-51) 20

Download ppt "Secularisms: Charles Taylor The process of disenchantment involves a change in sensibility; one is open to different things, yet one has lost an important."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google