How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, May 1, 2014 - Philosophy - 152 pages
How (Not) to Be Secular is what Jamie Smith calls "your hitchhiker's guide to the present" -- it is both a reading guide to Charles Taylor's monumental work A Secular Age and philosophical guidance on how we might learn to live in our times.

Taylor's landmark book A Secular Age (2007) provides a monumental, incisive analysis of what it means to live in the post-Christian present -- a pluralist world of competing beliefs and growing unbelief. Jamie Smith's book is a compact field guide to Taylor's insightful study of the secular, making that very significant but daunting work accessible to a wide array of readers.

Even more, though, Smith's How (Not) to Be Secular is a practical philosophical guidebook, a kind of how-to manual on how to live in our secular age. It ultimately offers us an adventure in self-understanding and maps out a way to get our bearings in today's secular culture, no matter who "we" are -- whether believers or skeptics, devout or doubting, self-assured or puzzled and confused. This is a book for any thinking person to chew on.


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User Review  - Baughns - LibraryThing

This was helpful as a brief review and introduction to a much longer book. It made me aware of Charles Taylor and I've now ordered the "original" to go more in-depth. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - remikit - LibraryThing

This book is far too short, but it did its job: give me a desire to read the 900 page book. I need to read the 900 page book to get the detail. Excellent summary for someone who knows nothing about the original. I'll let you know how it compares once we get the source. Read full review


Contesting the Secularization2 Thesis
How Not to Live in a Secular
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About the author (2014)

James K. A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he also teaches in the congregational and ministry studies department.

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