A Secular Age

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Harvard University Press, Sep 20, 2007 - Philosophy - 874 pages
5 Reviews

What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age? Almost everyone would agree that we--in the West, at least--largely do. And clearly the place of religion in our societies has changed profoundly in the last few centuries. In what will be a defining book for our time, Charles Taylor takes up the question of what these changes mean--of what, precisely, happens when a society in which it is virtually impossible not to believe in God becomes one in which faith, even for the staunchest believer, is only one human possibility among others.

Taylor, long one of our most insightful thinkers on such questions, offers a historical perspective. He examines the development in "Western Christendom" of those aspects of modernity which we call secular. What he describes is in fact not a single, continuous transformation, but a series of new departures, in which earlier forms of religious life have been dissolved or destabilized and new ones have been created. As we see here, today's secular world is characterized not by an absence of religion--although in some societies religious belief and practice have markedly declined--but rather by the continuing multiplication of new options, religious, spiritual, and anti-religious, which individuals and groups seize on in order to make sense of their lives and give shape to their spiritual aspirations.

What this means for the world--including the new forms of collective religious life it encourages, with their tendency to a mass mobilization that breeds violence--is what Charles Taylor grapples with, in a book as timely as it is timeless.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

A painful exacting description of the gradual displacement of a religious world with the scientific viewpoint enjoyed today. This is not easy reading, or clear. View it as an extensive conversation ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MarcusBastos - LibraryThing

The Path to Exclusive Humanism One can see the development of the western societies as a road to progressive secularization, a way that leads to a social organization in with religious beliefs are no ... Read full review

Contents

IV
25
V
90
VI
146
VII
159
VIII
212
IX
219
X
221
XI
270
XVIII
473
XIX
505
XX
537
XXI
539
XXII
594
XXIII
618
XXIV
676
XXV
711

XII
297
XIII
299
XIV
322
XV
352
XVI
377
XVII
423
XXVI
728
XXVII
773
XXVIII
779
XXIX
853
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University.

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