Encountering the Secular
In Encountering the Secular, J. Heath Atchley proposes analternative to the understanding of the secular as that which opposes the religious, and he turns toAmerican and Continental philosophy to support his critique. Drawing from thinkers as disparate asRalph Waldo Emerson and Gilles Deleuze, and engaging with contemporary literature and film, Atchleyshows how the division of experience (individual, cultural, political) into the distinct realms ofthe religious and the secular overlooks the subtle ways in which value can emerge. Far from arguingthat the religious and the secular are the same, he means instead to suggest that the dogmaticseparation between these two realms gets in the way of experiencing an immanent value, a kind ofvalue tied neither to a transcendent reality (e.g., a god or an ideal) nor to a self-centeredreality (e.g., pleasure or knowledge).Each chapter cultivates a particular concept thatchallenges the breach between the secular and the religious, rendering that breach ambiguous. Suchambiguity, the author affirms, is relevant to a time when rigid and simplistic notions of religionand secularity are used to justify thoughtlessness and even violence. All too often the secular isthought of either as a triumph in ",overcoming", the presumed irrationality and oppressionof religion, or as lament in ",losing", the meaning religion is thought once to haveoffered. Atchley suggests a view of the secular as an opportunity to experience an immanent valuethat is neither controlled by the human self nor conferred by a divine entity.Written in aprose that is lucid, lively, and provocative, Encountering the Secular shows howa philosophical endeavor might be understood as a spiritual practice.
Weiterlesen weniger lesen