Religion in a Secular Age? The Struggle for Meaning in an Abstracted World

The world is in a mess. Democratic institutions and practices are being hollowed out from within, including from within supposedly mature liberal democracies. A series of cross-cutting crises challenge the bases of existential meaning. In all of this, religion has an ambiguous place. Entrenched civil conflicts, fuelled by modern cleavages, are, for example, being fought in the name of deep ethnic and religious animosities. Religion, or to be more precise, one religious creed — Islam — is being used to name the reason for the militarization of public security and border control. And in a world of fractured communities, inter-personal conflicts, culture wars, and crises of meaning, religion is treated as everything from part of the problem to the source of our salvation.

Different people across the world — religious, spiritual, agnostic, secular, atheist, and otherwise — find themselves vacillating between hope and despair.

In this context, Religion in a Secular Age? seeks to answer a series of pressing questions. What does it mean for the place of religion? Can the revival of religion be a positive and constructive force in relation to overcoming the morbid symptoms of late modernity?

To these questions, the different writers of this volume have very different answers, even as they struggle in common with a world in crisis.

Introduction: Whither Religion in a World of Compounding Crises?

Introduction to Arena Journal no. 49/50, June 2018.
By Stephen Ames, Ian Barns, John Hinkson, Paul James and Gordon Preece


Arena Journal issue no. 49/50, 2018


Stephen Ames, Ian Barns, John Hinkson, Paul James and Gordon Preece1
Part I (a) - Religion from a ‘Constitutive Levels’ Perspective
Can Transcendence Have a Social Meaning?
John Hinkson23
What Does It Mean Ontologically to Be Religious?
Paul James56
As Revelation and Reason Founder: A Way into the Future?
Geoff Sharp101
Part I (b) - Religion from a Theological Perspective
Can We Re-imagine a Good Society after Neoliberalism?
Ian Barns122
Can We Live ‘in but not of’ the Immanent Frame?
Stephen Ames169
Where Is the Sacred Imaginary in these Secular Times?
Gordon Preece204
Part II
Introduction to Part II
John Hinkson251
The Natural World and After…
Geoff Sharp253
Notes on Contributors

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