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Exploring the Post-Secular

Session Chair: N.N. | Thursday, August 27, 3 :30-5 :30 p.m. | Venue

Mari Miyamoto

Reconstructing religious spheres: Religion and Democracy in re-Buddhistizing societies in the Himalayas

The presentation aims to describe the recent transitions of value systems and religious practices in re-Buddhistizing societies in the Himalayas. While Bhutan is widely known as a Mahayana Buddhist society under the supervision of the central monastery of the Drukpa-Kagyu school in Bhutan, the religious sphere of Bhutan in fact has been constructed also by rich and plural religious actors and indigenous rituals. However, under the recent secularization of the political system, including the disfranchisement of “religious personalities” under the government’s democratization policy, Buddhist monasteries and monks are now trying to reconstruct the religious sphere as a unified entity through the integration of alternative religious practices into Buddhism. In this presentation, I aim to examine how people interpret new religious orders and reconstruct their value systems and religious spheres through their everyday practices in rural Bhutan.

Marta Zając

Dynamics of Tradition

“In the latter half of the twentieth century England was (…) the home of a distinctly non-metaphysical culture”, Aidan Nichols OP rightly remarks; still, one should also consider what a historian Joseph Peirce names “a Christian literary revival which (…) represented an (…) intellectual response to the prevailing agnosticism of the age”. The paper confronts the problem thus suggested, namely, the undercurrent of religious thinking in the mainstream of secular culture. First, it takes into account a contrast between True Religion and philosophical Religion J.H. Newman makes, together with G.K. Chesterton’s claim that “logic is not health” and the parallel he draws between the rationalist and the madman, to refer finally to Ronald Knox’s disapproval of the Victorian “synthetic religion”. After recalling those views of most notable English converts I discuss their problematic (if not impossible) relation to nowadays post-secular thinking.

David Westerberg

Who benefits from the idea of the post-secular? A critical investigation of the fashionable concept of "post-secularity"

The term ”post-secular” was popularized by Jürgen Habermas and generally refers to some form of resurgence of religion, as well as the more or less inevitable place of religion in politics. By critically examining several theorists and academic debates, this study looks at how different meanings are ascribed to the ”post-secular” and the interests at stake. ”Post-secularity” varies from being about ”secular sociological naturalism”, to doing ”political theology”, to being about ”living in the presence of God”. Since many of these writers tend to ignore (the problem of) defining religion all together, this study shows how superficial and inherently flawed the concept is, incorporating many of the theoretical problems within Religious Studies. The proponents of ”post-secularity” uncritically reinforces essentialist ideas of ”believers” and ”non-believers”, as well as naturalizing ”religion” and ”the secular”, thereby masking any socio-political interests of using and redrawing the boundaries of these categories.

Nagima Baitenova

Dynamics of secularization and post-secular society in Kazakhstan

Religious processes in contemporary Kazakh society developing in line with global religious processes that have their own specifics. If the processes of secularization at the global level have begun much earlier and associated with the development of science, the process of secularization in our country began with the establishment of Soviet power and atheism. Under current conditions, along with the modern processes of secularization, gaining momentum de-secularization processes, due to the role of religion to high. But the processes of post-secular society in de-secularization are quite different in nature and is fundamentally different from the traditional. The transformation of religious traditions and values, attempt to adapt to the spiritual and cultural needs of the society. When it comes to the process of de-secularization Kazakhstani society have in mind not so much the traditional religions, many of the new religious communities in modern Kazakhstan.


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