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WHAT IS “SECULAR”? TECHNO-SECULARISM AND SPIRITUALITY

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Abstract:

Abstract.

I argue that there is no “roaring reality of rampant secularism” with “technological application as its chief agent,” as claimed by John Caiazza (2005). Two phenomena, techno-religion and a spirituality of technology, suggest a different picture of reality: Technology may be an alternative spirituality rather than an ally of a secularism that makes “nutcrackers of the soul” out of people who should be “dancers” (Nietzsche). An analysis of secularism and its manifold causes indicates that secularism is a fruit of both science and religion. The secular is a companion of religion rather than its enemy. Hence, I recommend a heuristic instead of an ontological use of the concept of secularism. In a technological age, religion is changing rather than being displaced. These changes are illustrated by the increase of private religiosity, megachurches, and cyber-spirituality. Energized by the tension between finitude and creativity, technology shares in the marks of spirituality (Philip Hefner) and in the potential for good and evil. In this situation, fundamentalism and dogmatism in religion, science, and technology are a greater threat than secularism.

Keywords: Friedrich Nietzsche; Philip Hefner; humanism; scientific secularism; secularization; spirituality and technology; techno-religion; techno-secularism; technology and religion; theology and secularism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00713.x

Affiliations: Associate Professor of Systematic Theology/Religion and Science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 E. 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615, and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science;, Email: ajackele@lstc.edu.

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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