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POST SECULAR SOCIETY
Broadcast date: Sunday 28-12-2008 12.00 - 12:45 NPO 2
Repeat: Saturday 3-1-2009 09:30 - 10:15 NPO 2
Philosophers Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor and John Grey and theologian Karen Armstrong retell the story of the history of our Western society on the basis of our attitude towards religion. Can we call ourselves a secular society or is that an illusion? German philosopher Jürgen Habermas held a lecture entitled ‘The Post Secular Society’. For most modern people, the development of secular society implies the disappearance of religion.
Philosopher Charles Taylor is the author of the book ‘A Secular Age’, in which he explores the evolution of secularization. Why was it perfectly normal to be religious in 1500, while 2008 it is just as normal as to not be religious. Taylor states that religion has always been present and it is therefore incorrect to refer to ‘post secular society’. Still, both science and political transformations have attributed to a secular climate. Yet when people refer to themselves as a being secular, it is not always clear what they mean. Sometimes it just means that they defend the democratic principles and support a separation of Church and State. In a country like US, however, religion plays a prominent role in society.
The British philosopher John Gray is of the opinion that the most secular body of thought has a religious foundation and should therefore be called completely religious. Both secular ideologies like Marxism and Liberalism promise a better world. The former by proclaiming a planned economy and drastic egalitarianism, the latter by way of a ‘laissez faire economy’ wherein a free global market will end poverty, dictatorship and war and will herald the start of universal freedom. Both ideologies aspire to the same goal: redemption through world peace, and that, according to Gray, is a purely religious principle. Theologian Karen Armstrong suggests that most people profess their religion in a superficial manner.
Religion is not just a state of mind or something which makes you feel good. Religion is an active pursuit, with compassion as its main ingredient. She is worried about today’s intolerant society that shows little empathy to others. Religion will have to adapt to modern times instead of holding on to old scriptures and condemning modernity for being modern.
Director, camera, editing: Alexander Oey
With: Karen Armstrong, John Gray, Charles Taylor
Commissioning editor: Babeth M. VanLoo
Sound: Benny Jansen
Advisor: Gertjan Mulder
2008 Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation
Length: 45 min.
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