A Secular Age: Shorter Summary


For those of you feeling intimidated by my 21 part series on A Secular Age, this shorter summary could help you get a sense of the argument Taylor is making. I've organized this shorter summary into 11 different sections and added some links to the corresponding chapter summary that each section is drawn from. At … Continue reading A Secular Age: Shorter Summary

Chapter 20: Conversions

In this chapter Taylor looks at the phenomenon of conversion in a Secular age, those people who “broke out of the immanent frame” into a larger perspective of Transcendence. These are people who come to recognize—perhaps through a conversion experience or via some other path—that there is more, that the immanent frame is insufficient. Taylor … Continue reading Chapter 20: Conversions

Chapter 19: Unquiet Frontiers of Modernity

In this chapter, Taylor explores some of the points of cross pressure, tension, unease for modern unbelief. The places where the buffered identity and immanent frame have a hard time remaining “closed,” and an “open” take suggests itself. Taylor's exploration in this chapter can't “decide the issue between belief and unbelief” but it can “bring … Continue reading Chapter 19: Unquiet Frontiers of Modernity

Chapter 17: Dilemmas 1

In this chapter, Taylor looks at some of the tensions and dilemmas that play out between aspirations to transcendence and ordinary human flourishing. Some of the cross pressures between "open" and "closed" spins. He begins by describing the “triumph of the therapeutic” over the older moral/spiritual perspective: “One of the most striking fruits... has been … Continue reading Chapter 17: Dilemmas 1

Chapter 16: Cross Pressures

In this chapter, Taylor describes the cross pressures between unbelieving and believing positions in modernity. Taylor begins by restating his resistance to the standard secularization thesis; that religion cannot but decline in the conditions of modernity. Taylor thinks that this kind of account of the place of religion in modern society presupposes unbelief, and is … Continue reading Chapter 16: Cross Pressures

Chapter 14: Religion Today

In this chapter Taylor explores the place of religion in the age of Authenticity. As we discussed in the previous chapter, the Age of Authenticity disrupted the older forms of religion that saw a close link between civilizational order and religious belief. In the American case, in the period immediately after the second world war, … Continue reading Chapter 14: Religion Today

Chapter 13: The Age of Authenticity

In this fascinating chapter, Taylor takes us through the revolutionary shift that took place in Western Society in the post second world war period, with the 1960s as the symbolic watershed. It would be helpful to briefly contextualize this shift in the larger story we have been telling. We begin in the enchanted world of … Continue reading Chapter 13: The Age of Authenticity

Chapter 12: The Age of Mobilization

In this chapter, Taylor is beginning to develop his own secularization theory, while critiquing some of the mainstream secularization theories. Secularization theory seeks to explain the decline of religion in the west and holds that: “…“modernity” (in some sense) tends to repress or reduce religion” (in some sense)”. Taylor broadly agrees with the general claim … Continue reading Chapter 12: The Age of Mobilization

Chapter 11: Nineteenth Century Trajectories

In this chapter, Taylor zooms in on the nova effect and traces the development of new forms of unbelief in different countries. He focuses on England, America and France. Much of the ground Taylor covers in this chapter has already been laid out in broad strokes in previous chapters, and his in depth analysis of … Continue reading Chapter 11: Nineteenth Century Trajectories