Postsecularism: The Hidden Challenge to Extremism

Paperback / softback
Spirituality in the post-9/11 world is a complex topic. The detente between secular culture and religious faith that characterised the 20th century, the mutual ignorance pact, has been shattered. From the rise of Islamic extremism to the American Christian Right to the fiercely anti-religious writings of staunch atheists such as Richard Dawkins, the controversy over what role the spiritual can or should play in our lives, public and private, has never been more widely discussed or hotly contended. In Postsecularism, Mike King posits that out of this conflict between socially dominant secular thinkers and the new defenders of faith is arising a distinct way of thinking that is neither a return to pre-Enlightenment beliefs nor a continued hegemony of the secular the postsecular. At once retention of secular critical attitudes and a return in all seriousness to questions of the spirit, the postsecular provides a framework within which to move beyond the extremism of faithful and atheists alike. Drawing on contemporary thinkers from across the spiritual spectrum including Dawkins, Antony Flew, Christopher Hitchens, Alister McGrath, Daniel Dennett, Keith Ward, Richard Swinburne and Martin Amis, King carefully constructs a new mode of thought and explores its relevance to everything from physics to the arts, postmodernism, and feminism. What emerges is a thoughtful and persuasive discussion of the route to reconciliation between the combative worlds of the religious and the secular.