The Decline of the Secular University

Author: C. John Sommerville
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195306958
Format: PDF, Docs
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The American university has embraced a thorough secularism that makes it increasingly marginal in a society that is characterized by high levels of religious belief. The very secularization that was supposed to be a liberating influence has resulted in the university's failure to provide leadership in political, cultural, social, and even scientific arenas.In The Decline of the Secular University, C. John Sommerville explores several different ways in which the secular university fails in its mission through its trivialization of religion. He notes how little attention is being given to defining the human, so crucial in all aspects of professional education. He alerts us to problems associated with the prevailing secular distinction between "facts" and "values." He reviews how the elimination of religion hampers the university from understanding our post-Cold War world. Sommerville then shows how a greater awareness of the intellectual resources of religion might stimulate more forthright attention to important matters like our loss of a sense of history, how to problematize secularism, the issue of judging religions, the oddity of academic moralizing, and the strangeness of science at the frontiers.Finally, he invites the reader to imagine a university where religion is not ruled out but rather welcomed as a legitimate voice among others. Sommerville's bracing and provocative arguments are sure to provoke controversy and stimulate discussion both inside and outside the academy.

The Secular Landscape

Author: Kevin McCaffree
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 331950262X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This book proposes a comprehensive theory of the loss of religion in human societies, with a specific and substantive focus on the contemporary United States. Kevin McCaffree draws on a range of disciplines including sociology, psychology, anthropology, and history to explore topics such as the origin of religion, the role of religion in recent American history, the loss of religion, and how Americans are dealing with this loss. The book is not only richly theoretical but also empirical. Hundreds of scientific studies are cited, and new statistical analyses enhance its core arguments. What emerges is an integrative and illuminating theory of secularization.

The Secular Northwest

Author: Tina Block
Publisher: UBC Press
ISBN: 0774831316
Format: PDF
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The image of a rough frontier – where working men were tempted away from church on Sundays by more profane concerns – was perpetuated by postwar religious leaders troubled by the decline in church involvement. Tina Block debunks the myth of a godless frontier, revealing a Pacific Northwest that rejected organized religion – but not necessarily God. Not just working men but also women, families, and middle-class communities helped to shape the region’s secular identity. Drawing on oral histories, census data, newspapers, and archival sources, Block launches this exploration of Northwest secularity and the independent spirit of those who chose to live irreligiously.

The Secular City

Author: Harvey Cox
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400848857
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Since its initial publication in 1965, The Secular City has been hailed as a classic for its nuanced exploration of the relationships among the rise of urban civilization, the decline of hierarchical, institutional religion, and the place of the secular within society. Now, half a century later, this international best seller remains as relevant as when it first appeared. The book's arguments--that secularity has a positive effect on institutions, that the city can be a space where people of all faiths fulfill their potential, and that God is present in both the secular and formal religious realms--still resonate with readers of all backgrounds. For this brand-new edition, Harvey Cox provides a substantial and updated introduction. He reflects on the book's initial stunning success in an age of political and religious upheaval and makes the case for its enduring relevance at a time when the debates that The Secular City helped ignite have caught fire once again.

The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse

Author: Steven Douglas Smith
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674050877
Format: PDF
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Prominent observers complain that public discourse in America is shallow and unedifying. This debased condition is often attributed to, among other things, the resurgence of religion in public life. Steven Smith argues that this diagnosis has the matter backwards: it is not primarily religion but rather the strictures of secular rationalism that have drained our modern discourse of force and authenticity. Thus, Rawlsian âeoepublic reasonâe filters appeals to religion or other âeoecomprehensive doctrinesâe out of public deliberation. But these restrictions have the effect of excluding our deepest normative commitments, virtually assuring that the discourse will be shallow. Furthermore, because we cannot defend our normative positions without resorting to convictions that secular discourse deems inadmissible, we are frequently forced to smuggle in those convictions under the guise of benign notions such as freedom or equality. Smith suggests that this sort of smuggling is pervasive in modern secular discourse. He shows this by considering a series of controversial, contemporary issues, including the Supreme Courtâe(tm)s assisted-suicide decisions, the âeoeharm principle,âe separation of church and state, and freedom of conscience. He concludes by suggesting that it is possible and desirable to free public discourse of the constraints associated with secularism and âeoepublic reason.âe

Religious Ideas for Secular Universities

Author: C. John Sommerville
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 0802864422
Format: PDF, Kindle
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During the last century American students and scholars have found it increasingly difficult to discuss the relation of religion to the mission of self-consciously secular colleges and universities. Respected scholar C. John Sommerville here offers thought-provoking reflections on this subject in a conversational style. / Sommerville explores the crisis of the secular university, argues that religion and secular universities need each other, and examines how Christianity shows up on both sides of our culture wars. The astute reflections in Religious Ideas for Secular Universities point the way to a dialogue that would do justice both to religious insights and to truly neutral secular education.

Religion the Secular and the Politics of Sexual Difference

Author: Linell E. Cady
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231162480
Format: PDF, ePub
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Global struggles over women’s roles, rights, and dress have taken center stage in a drama that casts the secular and the religious in tense if not violent opposition. Advocates for equality speak of the issue in terms of rights and modern progress while reactionaries ground their authority in religious and scriptural appeals. Both sides presume women’s emancipation is tied to secularization. This volume upsets these certainties by blending diverse voices and traditions, both secular and religious, in studies historicizing, questioning, and testing the implicit links between secularism and expanded freedoms for women. Rather than treat secularism as the answer to conflicts over gender and sexuality, these essays show how it structures the conditions generating them.

A SECULAR AGE

Author: Charles TAYLOR
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674044282
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The place of religion in society has changed profoundly in the last few centuries, particularly in the West. In what will be a defining book for our time, Taylor takes up the question of what these changes mean, and what, precisely, happens when a society becomes one in which faith is only one human possibility among others.

Modes of Faith

Author: Theodore Ziolkowski
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
ISBN: 1459627377
Format: PDF, ePub
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In the decades surrounding World War I, religious belief receded in the face of radical new ideas such as Marxism, modern science, Nietzschean philosophy, and critical theology. Modes of Faith addresses both this decline of religious belief and the new modes of secular faith that took religion's place in the minds of many writers and poets. Theodore Ziolkowski here examines the motives for this embrace of the secular, locating new modes of faith in art, escapist travel, socialism, politicized myth, and utopian visions. James Joyce, he reveals, turned to art as an escape while Hermann Hesse made a pilgrimage to India in search of enlightenment. Other writers, such as Roger Martin du Gard and Thomas Mann, sought temporary solace in communism or myth. And H. G. Wells, Ziolkowski argues, took refuge in utopian dreams projected in another dimension altogether. Rooted in innovative and careful comparative reading of the work of writers from France, England, Germany, Italy, and Russia, Modes of Faith is a critical masterpiece by a distinguished literary scholar that offers an abundance of insight to anyone interested in the human compulsion to believe in forces that transcend the individual.

Secular Beats Spiritual

Author: STEVE. BRUCE
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198805683
Format: PDF
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The decline of the Christian churches in the West is undeniable but commentators differ in their understanding of what this represents. For some it shows a decline in interest in religion as such; for others, religion has not declined, it has only changed its shape. Possible candidates for Christianity's replacement are the new religious movements of the late 1960s and what is variously called New Age, alternative or contemporary spirituality. Secular Beats Spiritual offers a detailed study of the religious and spiritual innovations of the last 50 years. It assesses their popularity in the UK and concludes that the "not decline-just change" view cannot be sustained. Serious interest in spirituality has grown far less quickly than has the number of us who have no religious or spiritual interest. The most popular and enduring movements have been the least religious ones and those that have survived have done so by becoming more "this-worldly" and less patently religious or spiritual. Yoga is popular but as a secular exercise program; Transcendental Meditation now markets its meditational technique as a purely secular therapy; British Buddhists now offer the secular Mindfulness; and the Findhorn Foundation (Europe's oldest New Age center) is no longer the germ of a counter-cultural communalism but sells its expertise to major corporations. Steve Bruce also demonstrates that, although eastern religious themes (such as reincarnation and karma) have become more popular as the power of the Christian churches to stigmatize them has declined, such themes have also been significantly altered so that what superficially looks like the easternization of the West might better be described as the westernization of the easternization of the West.