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Post-secularism, religious knowledge and religious education

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Post-secularism seems to follow in the wake of other (what are here called) ‘postal’ perspectives – post-structuralism, postmodernism, post-empiricism, post-positivism, post-analytical philosophy, post-foundationalism and so on – in questioning or repudiating what it takes to be the epistemic assumptions of ‘modernism.’ To be sure, post-secularism is especially concerned with one particular assumed implication of modernism – namely that there can be no epistemic warrant for religious faith or belief. While sympathetic to the post-secularist attempt to rehabilitate religious faith and commitment, this article considers three possible philosophical bases for the justification or dismissal of religious belief – pre-modernism, modernism and ‘postal’ perspectives – finding them all wanting. In their stead, the article develops a narrative account of religious meaning and understanding. On this view, religious texts, stories and myths – like other non-scientific narratives of wider literary and artistic culture – are crucial to the spiritual and moral cultivation of practical wisdom.
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Keywords: education; narratives; post-secularism; texts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: (Professor Emeritus) University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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