Symposium 20 (1):32-51 (2016)

Abstract
Taylor’s landmark work, A Secular Age, tells a complex story about the fate of religion in the West over the past 500 years. Taking issue with an overly-simplistic secularization theory, Taylor portrays a cultural landscape that, rather than speeding the withering of religion, has instead proliferated a dizzying array of spiritual options. This pluralistic reality places “cross-pressure” on those who inhabit these spiritual positions, fragilizing them through exposure to other lived possibilities. The widely adopted modern value of authenticity increases this pressure, encouraging people to carve out their own unique spiritual path and to eschew traditional, ‘spoon-fed’ answers to life’s existential questions. Yet what remains throughout these modern challenges to religion, says Taylor, is the quintessentially human quest for meaning, and the struggle against a modern nihilism that threatens to deny it. In this contested space, he suggests, humanity’s religious past is being called into an as yet unimagined future.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Continental Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 1917-9685
DOI 10.5840/symposium20162013
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