Postsecularism: The Hidden Challenge to Extremism



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Spirituality in the post-9/11 world is a complex topic. The detente or 'mutual ignorance pact' between secular culture and religious faith that characterised most of the twentieth century has been shattered in the early twenty-first. From the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the American Christian Right to the fiercely antireligious writings of staunch atheists such as Richard Dawkins, arguments over the role that religion and spirituality should play in our lives have never been more hotly debated. One extremism is pitted against another, but a new voice of moderation, a hidden challenge to both extremisms, is now emerging.

In Postsecularism, the follow-up to his acclaimed Secularism, Mike King posits that out of the conflict between socially dominant secular thinkers and the embattled 'new defenders of faith', a third approach arises which is neither a return to pre-Enlightenment beliefs, nor a continued hegemony of the secular. King identifies this as the postsecular. It retains critical modes of thought and at the same time returns in all seriousness to questions of the spirit. The postsecular provides a framework within which to move beyond religious and atheist extremism. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary thinkers from Dawkins to Anthony Flew, from Christopher Hitchens to Alister McGrath, King identifies a new mode of thought, exploring its relevance to everything from physics to the arts, postmodernism, and feminism. What emerges is a thoughtful and persuasive discussion of the route to reconciliation between the combative worlds of the religious and the secular.

103,259 words

Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: James Clarke & Co Ltd (26 February 2009)


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