Secularism

Politics, Religion, and Freedom

Author: Andrew Copson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198809131

Category: Religion

Page: 176

View: 8574

Until the modern period the integration of church (or other religion) and state (or political life) had been taken for granted. The political order was always tied to an official religion in Christian Europe, pre-Christian Europe, and in the Arabic world. But from the eighteenth century onwards, some European states began to set up their political order on a different basis. Not religion, but the rule of law through non-religious values embedded in constitutions became the foundation of some states -- a movement we now call secularism. In others, a de facto secularism emerged as political values and civil and criminal law altered their professed foundation from a shared religion to a non-religious basis. Today secularism is an increasingly hot topic in public, political, and religious debate across the globe. It is embodied in the conflict between secular republics -- from the US to India -- and the challenges they face from resurgent religious identity politics; in the challenges faced by religious states like those of the Arab world from insurgent secularists; and in states like China where calls for freedom of belief are challenging a state imposed non-religious worldview. In this short introduction Andrew Copson tells the story of secularism, taking in momentous episodes in world history, such as the great transition of Europe from religious orthodoxy to pluralism, the global struggle for human rights and democracy, and the origins of modernity. He also considers the role of secularism when engaging with some of the most contentious political and legal issues of our time: "blasphemy," "apostasy," religious persecution, religious discrimination, religious schools, and freedom of belief and thought in a divided world.

Rethinking Secularism

Author: Craig Calhoun,Mark Juergensmeyer,Jonathan VanAntwerpen

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199796688

Category: Religion

Page: 311

View: 924

This collection of essays examines how ''the secular'' is constituted and understood, and how new understandings of secularism and religion shape analytic perspectives in the social sciences, politics, and international affairs.

Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age

Author: Michael Warner,Jonathan VanAntwerpen,Craig J. Calhoun

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674048577

Category: Philosophy

Page: 337

View: 1299

âeoeWhat does it mean to say that we live in a secular age?âe This apparently simple question opens into the massive, provocative, and complex A Secular Age, where Charles Taylor positions secularism as a defining feature of the modern world, not the mere absence of religion, and casts light on the experience of transcendence that scientistic explanations of the world tend to neglect. In Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age, a prominent and varied group of scholars chart the conversations in which A Secular Age intervenes and address wider questions of secularism and secularity. The distinguished contributors include Robert Bellah, José Casanova, Nilüfer Göle, William E. Connolly, Wendy Brown, Simon During, Colin Jager, Jon Butler, Jonathan Sheehan, Akeel Bilgrami, John Milbank, and Saba Mahmood. Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age succeeds in conveying to readers the complexity of secularism while serving as an invaluable guide to a landmark book.

Secularisms

Author: Ann Pellegrini,Janet R. Jakobsen

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822388898

Category: Social Science

Page: 416

View: 3913

At a time when secularism is put forward as the answer to religious fundamentalism and violence, Secularisms offers a powerful, multivoiced critique of the narrative equating secularism with modernity, reason, freedom, peace, and progress. Bringing together essays by scholars based in religious studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, science studies, anthropology, and political science, this volume challenges the binary conception of “conservative” religion versus “progressive” secularism. With essays addressing secularism in India, Iran, Turkey, Great Britain, China, and the United States, this collection crucially complicates the dominant narrative by showing that secularism is multifaceted. How secularism is lived and experienced varies with its national, regional, and religious context. The essays explore local secularisms in relation to religious traditions ranging from Islam to Judaism, Hinduism to Christianity. Several contributors explicitly take up the way feminism has been implicated in the dominant secularization story. Ultimately, by dislodging secularism’s connection to the single (and singular) progress narrative, this volume seeks to open spaces for other possible narratives about both secularism and religion—as well as for other possible ways of inhabiting the contemporary world. Contributors: Robert J. Baird, Andrew Davison, Tracy Fessenden, Janet R. Jakobsen, Laura Levitt, Molly McGarry, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Taha Parla, Geeta Patel, Ann Pellegrini, Tyler Roberts, Ranu Samantrai, Banu Subramaniam, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Angela Zito

Liberalism’s Religion

Author: Cécile Laborde

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674976266

Category: Philosophy

Page: 337

View: 7110

Cécile Laborde argues that religion is more than a statement of belief or a moral code. It refers to comprehensive ways of life, theories of justice, modes of association, and vulnerable collective identities. By disaggregating these dimensions, she addresses questions about whether Western secularism and religion can be applied more universally.

Freedom of Religion and the Secular State

Author: Russell Blackford

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118153308

Category: Political Science

Page: 224

View: 8604

Exploring the relationship between religion and the state Focusing on the intersection of religion, law, and politics in contemporary liberal democracies, Blackford considers the concept of the secular state, revising and updating enlightenment views for the present day. Freedom of Religion and the Secular State offers a comprehensive analysis, with a global focus, of the subject of religious freedom from a legal as well as historical and philosophical viewpoint. It makes an original contribution to current debates about freedom of religion, and addresses a whole range of hot-button issues that involve the relationship between religion and the state, including the teaching of evolution in schools, what to do about the burqa, and so on.

American Secularism

Cultural Contours of Nonreligious Belief Systems

Author: Joseph O. Baker,Buster G. Smith

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479867411

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 8173

A rapidly growing number of Americans are embracing life outside the bounds of organized religion. Although America has long been viewed as a fervently religious Christian nation, survey data shows that more and more Americans are identifying as “not religious.” There are more non-religious Americans than ever before, yet social scientists have not adequately studied or typologized secularities, and the lived reality of secular individuals in America has not been astutely analyzed. American Secularism documents how changes to American society have fueled these shifts in the non-religious landscape and examines the diverse and dynamic world of secular Americans. This volume offers a theoretical framework for understanding secularisms. It explores secular Americans’ thought and practice to understand secularisms as worldviews in their own right, not just as negations of religion. Drawing on empirical data, the authors examine how people live secular lives and make meaning outside of organized religion. Joseph O. Baker and Buster G. Smith link secularities to broader issues of social power and organization, providing an empirical and cultural perspective on the secular landscape. In so doing, they demonstrate that shifts in American secularism are reflective of changes in the political meanings of “religion” in American culture. American Secularism addresses the contemporary lived reality of secular individuals, outlining forms of secular identity and showing their connection to patterns of family formation, sexuality, and politics, providing scholars of religion with a more comprehensive understanding of worldviews that do not include traditional religion. Data Analyses Appendix Instructor's Guide

The Politics of Secularism in International Relations

Author: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400828012

Category: Political Science

Page: 264

View: 9287

Conflicts involving religion have returned to the forefront of international relations. And yet political scientists and policymakers have continued to assume that religion has long been privatized in the West. This secularist assumption ignores the contestation surrounding the category of the "secular" in international politics. The Politics of Secularism in International Relations shows why this thinking is flawed, and provides a powerful alternative. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd argues that secularist divisions between religion and politics are not fixed, as commonly assumed, but socially and historically constructed. Examining the philosophical and historical legacy of the secularist traditions that shape European and American approaches to global politics, she shows why this matters for contemporary international relations, and in particular for two critical relationships: the United States and Iran, and the European Union and Turkey. The Politics of Secularism in International Relations develops a new approach to religion and international relations that challenges realist, liberal, and constructivist assumptions that religion has been excluded from politics in the West. The first book to consider secularism as a form of political authority in its own right, it describes two forms of secularism and their far-reaching global consequences.

Public Religions in the Modern World

Author: José Casanova

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022619020X

Category: Social Science

Page: 330

View: 3373

In a sweeping reconsideration of the relation between religion and modernity, Jose Casanova surveys the roles that religions may play in the public sphere of modern societies. During the 1980s, religious traditions around the world, from Islamic fundamentalism to Catholic liberation theology, began making their way, often forcefully, out of the private sphere and into public life, causing the "deprivatization" of religion in contemporary life. No longer content merely to administer pastoral care to individual souls, religious institutions are challenging dominant political and social forces, raising questions about the claims of entities such as nations and markets to be "value neutral", and straining the traditional connections of private and public morality. Casanova looks at five cases from two religious traditions (Catholicism and Protestantism) in four countries (Spain, Poland, Brazil, and the United States). These cases challenge postwar—and indeed post-Enlightenment—assumptions about the role of modernity and secularization in religious movements throughout the world. This book expands our understanding of the increasingly significant role religion plays in the ongoing construction of the modern world.

Secularism and Freedom of Conscience

Author: Jocelyn Maclure,Charles Taylor

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674062957

Category: Religion

Page: 160

View: 8528

Jocelyn Maclure and Charles Taylor provide a clearly reasoned, articulate account of the two main principles of secularism—equal respect, and freedom of conscience—and argue that in our religiously diverse, politically interconnected world, secularism, properly understood, may offer the only path to religious and philosophical freedom.

Secular Faith

How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics

Author: Mark A. Smith

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022627537X

Category: Political Science

Page: 288

View: 6996

When Pope Francis recently answered “Who am I to judge?” when asked about homosexuality, he ushered in a new era for the Catholic church. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for a pope to express tolerance for homosexuality. Yet shifts of this kind are actually common in the history of Christian groups. Within the United States, Christian leaders have regularly revised their teachings to match the beliefs and opinions gaining support among their members and larger society. Mark A. Smith provocatively argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is. In fact, in the long run, religion is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them. Smith makes his case by charting five contentious issues in America’s history: slavery, divorce, homosexuality, abortion, and women’s rights. For each, he shows how the political views of even the most conservative Christians evolved in the same direction as the rest of society—perhaps not as swiftly, but always on the same arc. During periods of cultural transition, Christian leaders do resist prevailing values and behaviors, but those same leaders inevitably acquiesce—often by reinterpreting the Bible—if their positions become no longer tenable. Secular ideas and influences thereby shape the ways Christians read and interpret their scriptures. So powerful are the cultural and societal norms surrounding us that Christians in America today hold more in common morally and politically with their atheist neighbors than with the Christians of earlier centuries. In fact, the strongest predictors of people’s moral beliefs are not their religious commitments or lack thereof but rather when and where they were born. A thoroughly researched and ultimately hopeful book on the prospects for political harmony, Secular Faith demonstrates how, over the long run, boundaries of secular and religious cultures converge.

Secularism And Its Critics

Author: Rajeev Bhargava

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780195650273

Category: Political Science

Page: 550

View: 6335

This book puts together the most important contemporary writings in the debate on secularism. It deals with conceptual, normative and explanatory issues in secularism and addresses urgent questions, including the relevance of secularism to non-Western societies and the question of minority rights.

The Limits of Tolerance

Indian Secularism and the Politics of Religious Freedom

Author: C.S. Adcock

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199995435

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 9554

This book provides a critical history of the distinctive tradition of Indian secularism known as Tolerance. Examining debates surrounding the activities of the Arya Samaj - a Hindu reform organization regarded as the exemplar of intolerance - it finds that Tolerance functioned to disengage Indian secularism from the politics of caste.

Religion in American Politics

A Short History

Author: Frank Lambert

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400824588

Category: History

Page: 296

View: 2145

The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention blocked the establishment of Christianity as a national religion. But they could not keep religion out of American politics. From the election of 1800, when Federalist clergymen charged that deist Thomas Jefferson was unfit to lead a "Christian nation," to today, when some Democrats want to embrace the so-called Religious Left in order to compete with the Republicans and the Religious Right, religion has always been part of American politics. In Religion in American Politics, Frank Lambert tells the fascinating story of the uneasy relations between religion and politics from the founding to the twenty-first century. Lambert examines how antebellum Protestant unity was challenged by sectionalism as both North and South invoked religious justification; how Andrew Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" competed with the anticapitalist "Social Gospel" during postwar industrialization; how the civil rights movement was perhaps the most effective religious intervention in politics in American history; and how the alliance between the Republican Party and the Religious Right has, in many ways, realized the founders' fears of religious-political electoral coalitions. In these and other cases, Lambert shows that religion became sectarian and partisan whenever it entered the political fray, and that religious agendas have always mixed with nonreligious ones. Religion in American Politics brings rare historical perspective and insight to a subject that was just as important--and controversial--in 1776 as it is today.

Why I Am Not a Secularist

Author: William E. Connolly

Publisher: U of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 9780816633326

Category: Religion

Page: 210

View: 4246

Religion's influence in American politics is obvious in recent debates about school prayer, abortion, and homosexuality, as well as in the success of grassroots religious organizations in mobilizing voters. Many liberal secularists decry this trend, rejecting any interaction between politics and religion. But in Why I Am Not a Secularist, distinguished political theorist William E. Connolly argues that secularism, although admirable in its pursuit of freedom and diversity, too often undercuts these goals through its narrow and intolerant understandings of public reason. In response, he crafts a new model of public life that more accurately reflects the needs of contemporary politics.

Culture and Redemption

Religion, the Secular, and American Literature

Author: Tracy Fessenden

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400837304

Category: Religion

Page: 352

View: 5321

Many Americans wish to believe that the United States, founded in religious tolerance, has gradually and naturally established a secular public sphere that is equally tolerant of all religions--or none. Culture and Redemption suggests otherwise. Tracy Fessenden contends that the uneven separation of church and state in America, far from safeguarding an arena for democratic flourishing, has functioned instead to promote particular forms of religious possibility while containing, suppressing, or excluding others. At a moment when questions about the appropriate role of religion in public life have become trenchant as never before, Culture and Redemption radically challenges conventional depictions--celebratory or damning--of America's "secular" public sphere. Examining American legal cases, children's books, sermons, and polemics together with popular and classic works of literature from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, Culture and Redemption shows how the vaunted secularization of American culture proceeds not as an inevitable by-product of modernity, but instead through concerted attempts to render dominant forms of Protestant identity continuous with democratic, civil identity. Fessenden shows this process to be thoroughly implicated, moreover, in practices of often-violent exclusion that go to the making of national culture: Indian removals, forced acculturations of religious and other minorities, internal and external colonizations, and exacting constructions of sex and gender. Her new readings of Emerson, Whitman, Melville, Stowe, Twain, Gilman, Fitzgerald, and others who address themselves to these dynamics in intricate and often unexpected ways advance a major reinterpretation of American writing.

Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans?

Party Activists, Party Capture, and the 'God Gap'

Author: Ryan L. Claassen

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316300129

Category: Political Science

Page: N.A

View: 6858

Do Evangelical activists control the Republican Party? Do secular activists control the Democratic Party? In Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans?, Ryan Claassen carefully assesses the way campaign activists represent religious and non-religious groups in American political parties dating back to the 1960s. By providing a new theoretical framework for investigating the connections between macro social and political trends, the results challenge a conventional wisdom in which recently mobilized religious and Secular extremists captured the parties and created a God gap. The new approach reveals that very basic social and demographic trends matter far more than previously recognized and that mobilization matters far less. The God gap in voting is real, but it was not created by Christian Right mobilization efforts and a Secular backlash. Where others see culture wars and captured parties, Claassen finds many religious divisions in American politics are artifacts of basic social changes. This very basic insight leads to many profoundly different conclusions about the motivations of religious and non-religious activists and voters.

Indian Secularism

A Social and Intellectual History, 1890-1950

Author: Shabnum Tejani

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 0253220440

Category: History

Page: 302

View: 9815

Many of the central issues in modern Indian politics have long been understood in terms of an opposition between ideologies of secularism and communalism. Observers have argued that recent Hindu nationalism is the symptom of a crisis of Indian secularism and have blamed this on a resurgence of religion or communalism. Shabnum Tejani unpacks prevailing assumptions about the meaning of secularism in contemporary politics, focusing on India but with many points of comparison elsewhere in the world. She questions the simple dichotomy between secularism and communalism that has been used in scholarly study and political discourse. Tracing the social, political, and intellectual genealogies of the concepts of secularism and communalism from the late nineteenth century until the ratification of the Indian constitution in 1950, she shows how secularism came to be bound up with ideas about nationalism and national identity.

Home

Author: Michael Allen Fox

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198747233

Category: Social Science

Page: 160

View: 3911

Thoughts and feelings about home traditionally provided people of all cultures with a firm sense of where they belonged, and why. But with the world rapidly changing, many of our basic notions are becoming problematic. Both internationally and within countries, populations are constantly on the move, seeking better opportunities and living conditions, or an escape from violence and war. In spite of, or perhaps even because of these trends, ideas about home continue to shape the way people everywhere frame an understanding of their lives. In this Very Short Introduction Michael Allen Fox considers the complex meaning of home and the essential importance of place to human psychology. Drawing on a wide array of international examples he discusses what dwelling is and the variety of dwellings. Fox also looks at the politics of the concept of 'home', homelessness, refugeeism and migration, and the future of home, and argues that home remains a central organizing concept in human life. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Politics of Religious Freedom

Author: Winnifred Fallers Sullivan,Elizabeth Shakman Hurd,Saba Mahmood,Peter G. Danchin

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022624864X

Category: Political Science

Page: 344

View: 1416

In a remarkably short period of time, the realization of religious freedom has achieved broad consensus as an indispensable condition for peace. Faced with widespread reports of religious persecution, public and private actors around the world have responded with laws and policies designed to promote freedom of religion. But what precisely is being promoted? What are the cultural and epistemological assumptions underlying this response, and what forms of politics are enabled in the process? The fruits of the three-year Politics of Religious Freedom research project, the contributions to this volume unsettle the assumption—ubiquitous in policy circles—that religious freedom is a singular achievement, an easily understood state of affairs, and that the problem lies in its incomplete accomplishment. Taking a global perspective, the more than two dozen contributors delineate the different conceptions of religious freedom predominant in the world today, as well as their histories and social and political contexts. Together, the contributions make clear that the reasons for persecution are more varied and complex than is widely acknowledged, and that the indiscriminate promotion of a single legal and cultural tool meant to address conflict across a wide variety of cultures can have the perverse effect of exacerbating the problems that plague the communities cited as falling short.