March 28, 12
- Markers: ENLIGHTENMENT (over „superstition‟ – Voltaire, Rousseau,
- Secularization – process – not over night – features conflict
between secularity and religion.
- SCIENCE (over faith) – science becomes increasingly the source of
authority – scientific principles at work.
- REASON (over dogma) – no more insisting on sacred truths –
- TECHNOLOGY and this-worldly fulfillment (afterlife is remote,
- For the Enlightenment thinkers, traditional religion was a dated
superstition, a product of humanity‟s infancy and ignorance; with
the rise of Science, practical reason and technological progress
would displace or supplant the religious worldview.
- ^Occupies the role to fulfill needs and desires instead of looking for
sacred or supernatural assistance.
- Marx – religion as social alienation
- Freud – religion as illusion, wish-fulfillment.
- Weber – Rationalization – all aspects of life moving to formal
means-ends efficiencies, and Disenchantment – the world is
calculable, manageable through technical-rational means of
organization (bureaucracy), social relations based on law, contract
decline of the supernatural as a regulative framework of
understanding and action…
- ^Modern societies were moving increasingly in the direction of
formal rationality. The need for standardizing arrangements in
- ^Substantive rationality – the outcome is better.
- ^Formal rationality – simply operate according to rules.
- ^Earlier forms of justice is more relevant.
- Sacred scriptures lost sacred aura through critical analysis. –
applied the same thing to the history of Christianity – losing luster.
- ^Scholars began to situate religious traditions in wider contexts –
ex. Noah story synonymous with older stories.
- Robin Horton – historically, there have been two major
aspects/concerns of religious life:
- 1) “manipulation” – i.e. explanation/prediction/control: as
explanatory systems – accounts of why things are the way they
are, how they come about, etc. – religious worldviews offer a
comprehension of reality – i.e., they make a kosmos – and thus
afford us a measure of practical direction/control in our dealings
with the everyday space-time world.- 2) “communion” – Believers seek an intrinsically meaningful,
comforting, or protective relationship with a higher or more
encompassing order, with the Divine or Transcendent – since
beliefs, meanings, and values are validated collectively, religions
generate powerful bonds of solidarity with the group/ community to
which one belongs [Durkheim]
- two basic cognitive orientations shape the human experience:
- 1) common sense, i.e. “primary theory” entitles as directly given
to sense perception (objects in space, temporal flow), and
conventially defined or names.
- 2) “secondary theory” critical, seeks the “real causes” below the
surface of appearance, the “given” world has hidden, deeper truths
speculative thought – going beyond and trying to make sense of the
experience. Successive schemes of intelligibility and meaning:
- myth religion philosophy science
- Premodern “secondary theories”: animistic, a personal idiom,
spiritual magic and religion.
- Modern science is impersonal, materialistic technological control.
- Horton argues that science and technology have encroached upon
the traditional “explanatory/control” function of religion, thus
making the “communion” aspects more prominent in modernity …
but also potentially more vulnerable.
- Traditional religious worldviews – incorporating beliefs, norms,
values, images, symbols, etc… - are now incr