The Immanent Frame
Secularism, religion, and the public sphere
At The Immanent Frame, three new posts from Richard Madsen:
“Discerning the religious spirit of secular states in Asia”
“In his monumental book, A Secular Age, Charles Taylor distinguishes three meanings of secularism, as it refers to the 'North Atlantic societies' of Western Europe and North America. Can this analytic framework be applied outside of the North Atlantic world, particularly to Asian societies? Taylor himself would not claim to have created a framework for a universal theory of comparative religion. But this framework, grounded in a particular cultural and historical experience, may nonetheless be useful for cross cultural comparisons.” View this full post.
“Embedded religion in Asia”
“The secularity of modern Asian states has by no means led to widespread social secularity, Taylor’s second secularity, a decline of religious belief and practice among ordinary people. The degree of religious practice varies from country to country, but almost everywhere temples, mosques, churches, and shrines are ubiquitous and full of people, especially during festival seasons. Even in China, where the government actively propagates an atheist ideology and has severely restricted open religious activities, it has been estimated that as much as ninety-five percent of the population engages from time to time in some form of religious practice. Moreover, throughout Asia there have been impressive revivals and reformations of Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian religious beliefs and practices—Asia is religiously dynamic.” View this full post.
“Hybrid consciousness or purified religion”
“Charles Taylor’s framework for understanding the advent of a 'secular age' in the North Atlantic world offers a useful first draft for understanding the place of religion in Asian modernity. As I have shown in my previous two posts, modern Asian countries have secular states, but, despite efforts of some states to destroy all religion, they still have religious societies. In this post, I will discuss how new cultural conditions of belief give religion a different valence than it had in pre-modern times. Taylor’s framework, however, is only a first draft.” View this
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February 13, 2009
The Immanent Frame