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Examining the Religious-Secular Divide: Some Case Studies

Session Chair: N.N. | Tuesday, August 25, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Douglas Pratt

Secularism and the Rise of Anti-Religion in Western Societies: From Antipodean 'Godzone' to secularized 'God-free' Zone?

Secularization, as both an idea and a process, refers to a social contract enabling people of different religious identities and belief systems, or none, to co-exist peacefully. Whilst the specifics of Church-State relations vary across western secular nations, they arguably have one thing in common, namely that secularization, the initial context of allowability for religion within the public sphere, has yielded increasingly to secularism as an ideology of obviating religion from the public sphere. The notion and discourse of ‘being secular’ has arguably shifted from a climate of acceptability of religion per se, together with tolerance of religious diversity, to that of being effectively synonymous with ‘non-religion’, even ‘irreligion’. Findings from a study of secularism in New Zealand, a western society that in 2013 recorded Christian allegiance under 50%, raises issues and questions pertinent for considering the place of religion within western secular societies today. Is secularism obviating religious tolerance?

Mounis Bekhadra

Culture of citizenship in Islam

The problem of citizenship and its components cultural, one of the most important problems present in circles different research in general, and in social circles and humanity in particular, since it remained a policewoman necessary for the success , Among the challenges That still stands in front of a stone found citizenship rooted in contemporary Islamic societies, is how to build a civic culture and the construction of the basic features and component and make it hard for the basic civilized Islamic society civil. When we talk about civic culture, we are going to talk about the fundamentals of humanity necessary for a person of civil contemporary, such as constant freedom and multiculturalism, religious and peaceful coexistence and freedom of belief, women and children and other components of civil in its absence remains a citizen hit by strike utopian, and this is the void that still experienced by contemporary Islamic societies.

Jonathan D. Smith

Religious-secular partnerships for social change: the case of the Jubilee Debt Campaign UK

Amidst debate over religious-secular divides in Europe, instances of cooperation between religious communities and secular activists in global justice campaigns are often overlooked. Interfaith solidarity, defined as multi-religious and religious-secular coalitions unified around common goals, builds on social capital theory and Habermas’ concept of religion and the public sphere. In partnerships with a diverse range of civil society actors, religious groups provide mobilizing power and grassroots legitimacy to campaigns, and secular partners provide activist expertise and political acumen. These striking coalitions gain attention from global powers precisely because they cut across expected political divides. This concept is exemplified by the Jubilee Debt Campaign in the UK. Based on a biblical concept of debt forgiveness, religious groups formed coalitions with secular activists and musicians which challenged the neoliberal consensus and gained notable political concessions. The paper details how partnerships were formed and how religious language was adapted for a political and technocratic audience.

Whitney Bauman

Secular and Religious Dogmatism: Globalization, Climate Change and the space for pluralism

As many scholars have pointed out, western secularism is itself a very faith-filled and religiously located concept. It forces other understandings of secularism (and along with it other religions) to adhere to the public reason / private faith distinction, which doesn’t work in many societies, all the while projecting such a distinction as reasonable, enlightened, or somehow progressive. This paper argues that two very important bio-historical factors are beginning to shed light on the faith-filled and culturally located concept of western secularity: globalization and climate change. The contemporary processes of globalization and climate change is forcing the hidden faith of secularism out of its foxhole. This happens in at least three ways: through the undoing of mastery, through the hybridity of meaning-making practices, and following these two through the undoing of the narrative of chronological progress.


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