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"Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter." --"Time of Transitions" (2004), Jürgen Habermas[1]

"The assumption that we live in a secularized world is false: The world today [...] is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever. This means that a whole body of literature written by historians and social scientists over the course of the 1950s and '60s, loosely labeled as "secularization theory", was essentially mistaken. In my early work I contributed to this literature and was in good company so doing - most sociologists of religion had similar views. There were good reasons for holding these views at the time, and some of these writings still stand up. But the core premise does not." --Peter L. Berger, 1996, "Secularism in Retreat"

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Postsecularism refers to a range of theories regarding the persistence or resurgence of religious beliefs or practices in the present. The "post-" may refer to after the end of secularism or after the beginning of secularism.



The term first appeared in print in 1991 ("...and though the use of such terms as "postmodernism" and "postmodernity" have become increasingly fashionable, there is no such thing as "postsecularism," at least not yet," Eliot Deutsch, 1991), the term first became popular in the early 2010s.


The term “postsecular” has been used in sociology, political theory, religious studies, art studies, and other fields. Jürgen Habermas is widely credited for popularizing the term, to refer to current times in which the idea of modernity is perceived as failing and, at times, morally unsuccessful, so that, rather than a stratification or separation, a new peaceful dialogue and tolerant coexistence between the spheres of faith and reason must be sought in order to learn mutually. In this sense, Habermas insists that both religious people and secularist people should not exclude each other, but to learn from one another and coexist tolerantly. Massimo Rosati says that in a post secular society, religious and secular perspectives are on even ground, meaning that the two theoretically share equal importance. Modern societies that have considered themselves fully secular until recently have to change their value systems accordingly as to properly accommodate this co-existence.

Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age is also frequently invoked as describing the postsecular, though there is sometimes disagreement over what each author meant with the term. Particularly contested is the question of whether “postsecular” refers to a new sociological phenomenon or to a new awareness of an existing phenomenon—that is, whether society was secular and now is becoming post-secular or whether society was never and is not now becoming secular even though many people had thought it was or thought it was going to be. Some suggest that the term is so conflicted as to be of little use. Others suggest that the flexibility of the term is one of its strengths.

In literary studies, the term has been used to indicate a sort of postmodern religious or spiritual sensibility in certain contemporary texts.

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Further reading

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Postsecularism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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