Chapter 18: Dilemmas 2

In this chapter, Taylor continues to explore the tensions between belief and unbelief, now turning to look at issues surrounding the meaning of life. He zooms in on the question of evil and suffering. The question that evil and suffering raises is not one of theodicy (this is only a problem for belief) but rather, … Continue reading Chapter 18: Dilemmas 2

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

Chapter 10: The Expanding Universe of Unbelief

In this chapter, Taylor wants to explore two things, first, the development of a “middle space”, a “no-man’s land” between belief and unbelief, in which both are cross pressured. Second, Taylor wants to talk about the development of deeper forms of unbelief, more firmly grounded in the social and cosmic imaginaries of our own age, … Continue reading Chapter 10: The Expanding Universe of Unbelief

Chapter 9: The Dark Abyss of Time

In this chapter, Taylor seeks to describe the emergence and the shape of the modern cosmic imaginary. By “cosmic imaginary” Taylor has in mind something analogous to what he refers to as the “social imaginary.” In the case of the “cosmic imaginary” it is that generally shared background understanding of the world and our place … Continue reading Chapter 9: The Dark Abyss of Time