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ATHENS, JERUSALEM, AND THE ARRIVAL OF TECHNO-SECULARISM

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Abstract:

Abstract.

Western civilization historically has tried to balance secular knowledge with revealed religion. Science is the modern world's version of secular knowledge and resists the kind of integration achieved by Augustine and Aquinas. Managing the conflict between religion and evolution by containing them in separate “frames,” as Stephen J. Gould suggested, does not resolve the issue. Science may have displaced religion from the public square, but the traditional science-religion conflict has become threadbare in intellectual terms. Scientific theories have become increasingly abstract, and science has been attacked from the left as a source of objective knowledge. However, technology, not science, has displaced religious belief, a phenomenon I call techno-secularism. Robert Coles's suggestion that secularism is a form of doubt inevitably attached to religious belief, and William James's reduction of religious experiences to psychological states, evaluating them according to their “cash value,” are unhelpful. Technology enables us to remake our environment according to our wishes and has become a kind of magic that replaces not just revealed religion but also theoretical science. Techno-secularism has an ethical vision that focuses on healthful living, self-fulfillment, and avoiding the struggles of human life and the inevitability of death.

Keywords: Stephen J. Gould; evolution and religion; psychology and religion; religion; science; science and religion; secularism; techno-secularism; technology

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00638.x

Affiliations: John C. Caiazza is adjunct professor of philosophy at Rivier College, Nashua, NH 03060;, Email: jcaiazza@Rivier.edu.

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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