Religion and Secularity in Britain today

There is a fundamental mismatch between our inherited liberal perspectives upon ‘religion’ and the novelties of some of its current manifestations. ‘Secularity’ is regarded as the normal, default shared domain for public affairs, and ‘religion’ is regarded as a matter of private belief and practice that is valid so long as it does not impinge upon the life and choices of others.

John Milbank. Public Spirit. 14 October 2014

1 thought on “Religion and Secularity in Britain today”

  1. Briefly–

    “[The Enlightenment project of secularisation] was not a matter of turning to shared and sensible secular goals away from irrational and non-debatable religious lunacies. It was rather a matter of despairing (perhaps prematurely) of the possibility of substantive agreement about the common good, and turning instead to novel formalistic proposals (supremely those of Thomas Hobbes) which aimed to distil a simulacrum of order out of chaos by rendering normative a strictly policed and controlled series of procedures rather than a set of shared beliefs and specific practices…

    “… tolerance of religion as a merely private matter appears as non-tolerance to religions more centred on collective practice and the infusion with religious norms of a considerable public space…

    “…the formal and informal establishment of the Christian religion in Britain both sustains the secular as merely secular and not as a dogmatic quasi-religion, and holds open a space in which other religions can enjoy a measure of their own licit public space, besides opportunities to participate, in their own religious idiom in the wider civic arena…”

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