Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

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hawkgrrrl
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Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by hawkgrrrl » 28 Dec 2016, 11:25

I did a VERY brief overview of Charles Taylor's A Secular Age (based on James K.A. Smith's book about it "How (Not) to be a Secular"). https://wheatandtares.org/2016/12/27/our-secular-age/

So far, this is the best read I've ever done to understand why people are struggling so much with faith in our time. It was fascinating. For another great insight, don't miss Andrew S.'s comment.
The premise behind Charles Taylor’s book is trying to understand how we went from the mindset in which disbelief in God was almost unimaginable to a situation in which the opposite is true; yet the book somehow avoids the tropes of both fundamentalist believers as well as militant atheists. It’s a very thoughtful treatise on how modern life is experienced by believers, skeptics, deists and atheists. A big part of this shift is that the conditions of belief have changed. We have more viable possibilities available to us in terms of belief, and we also have different underlying assumptions than people did a few hundred years ago. Since assumptions are the water we swim in, we are mostly unaware of them.
One of my personal conclusions is that because of the date of the restoration, Mormonism is actually one of the most secular religions out there, combining the worldly with the religious. We are also very focused on human flourishing rather than transcendence because we view God as having a body of flesh and bone. I recommend reading my primer and then deciding if you want to buy either of the books. The Smith one is a much shorter read, but it kind of makes me want to read Taylor himself next. I did read some Taylor directly, having found this free pdf on line: http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5233S.pdf

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Reuben
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Re: Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by Reuben » 28 Dec 2016, 18:02

Thoroughly enjoying it so far. I got to here before feeling I really needed to comment:
This way of living is foreign to us in our day. We can’t comprehend the lived experience in which a single religious worldview was so fully enmeshed in society that there really was no alternative available or even understood for the majority of people.
Having lived in Provo, I think I can relate. :D
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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mom3
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Re: Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by mom3 » 28 Dec 2016, 19:55

On my kindle. Can't wait.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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mom3
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Re: Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by mom3 » 29 Aug 2017, 13:37

23% through it and loving it. It makes you feel at peace. It gives clarity to the tsunami of faith transition. I was awake at 4 am reading because it is amazing.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Willhewonder
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Re: Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by Willhewonder » 05 Sep 2017, 12:55

This article helps with what is going on out there. It also explains the little bit of turn-about satisfaction I get when I discuss with people today how little you can actually confirm in realtime with the scientific method. To really apply the method in determining truth with any kind of practical question, you would starve to death long before making any useful conclusions.

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Willhewonder
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Re: Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by Willhewonder » 05 Sep 2017, 16:59

More: A bit more seriously, this discussion helps shine a light on several modern and older perplexities. For example, do you know that most of the radicalized youth in ISIS are middle class well educated and not poor illiterates. Also, many of the historic disrupters have been relatively well to do or connected youth who have not wanted to follow in their parent's footsteps. Mohammad for one. Stalin for another. The Castros in Cuba. I think it is not solely secularization, but maybe something that shares the same traits, such as a point of non-sustainable economic complexity of a society (Tainter?). It is just too much to dot all the i's and cross all the t's to get what dad or uncle had, and too hard to understand, so I will find a simpler ordered explanation and adopt some morality that will let me get what I want (or make me feel good about myself) in a more direct and less complex manner. So what can I adopt or make up that will do that? Luther, Darwin, Marx, altruism, eugenics, national and international socialism, climate change, one world order, ISIS, North Korean adoration of the Leader, disaster relief, Community service, diversity, safe places, justserve.org - lots of flavors to choose from. If the Church is finding a loss of utility of Nibley's "terrible questions", where did I come from, etc., then inviting people to volunteerism seems the ideal replacement to get in close. But if you're fed up with being one of the 12 who do everything, what's all this about added service projects? Just saying.

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mom3
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Re: Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by mom3 » 06 Sep 2017, 13:39

But if you're fed up with being one of the 12 who do everything, what's all this about added service projects? Just saying.
We had our Just Serve Meeting the other night and were making jokes about the 12 families who serve. If one moves what do we do? And how many can we ask them to fulfill? Should they have other callings or just be the "Service Families".
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

DancingCarrot
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Re: Charles Taylor: A Secular Age

Post by DancingCarrot » 08 Sep 2017, 08:40

Andrew's comment was very well stated and raised some interesting tensions point, most notably for me:
So, in Mormonism, human flourishing is identified with transcendent transformation. Paul in the New Testament takes a rather cynical look at marriage and sexuality, conceding that maybe it is better to marry than to burn, but his ideal is clearly celibacy. This is usually not so with Mormonism — the fulfillment of the law of chastity isn’t celibacy, but a fruitful, heterosexual marriage with children. So, there is that extent that sexual fulfillment is defined as transformative — at least for some people.

Mormonism obviously isn’t completely about immanence, though. While the law of chastity absolutely views celibacy as a lesser goal for straight people (to the extent that the leaders chastise straight members for not doing everything they can to marry and have children), we can still see the rhetoric of transcendence when looking at the LDS church’s position on LGBT members. Here, sexual fulfillment is anathema. These members are supposed to set aside their sexuality in hopes that the Atonement can transform them into something else in the afterlife.

I think this also can explain why we see faith crises more and more. People don’t natively live in the religious mindset. They live in a secular mindset, with an immanent frame, and when religion is at odds with that, that builds tension. So, LDS policies to LGBT folks often seem unfair precisely because we live in a society that has an immanent frame, and we cannot help but have that immanent frame ourselves.
I don't think I'd be satisfied with an authoritative resolution between immanence and transcendence therefore I will not ask for one. Simply, I'll give appreciation to the tension between the two that gives my life meaning and for the ability to continually exercise my faculties in prioritizing the differences as I see fit throughout my life.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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