Three Rival Versions of the Relationship of Religion to Modernity

Journal of Religion and Society:11-32 (2018)
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This essay explores Bernard Williams’s portrayal of his, Alasdair MacIntyre’s, and Charles Taylor’s views on how to move in relationship to religion in our modern world: backward in it (MacIntyre), forward in it (Taylor), and out of it (Williams). I contend that this portrayal is not entirely accurate in each case, though there is some truth in it, and that looking at each author’s view on the relationship of religion to modernity is instructive for those of us who wish to keep religious faith alive in our modern, secular age. I begin with Williams, and then discuss MacIntyre and Taylor in turn. I seek to show how MacIntyre and Taylor can help us to overcome the challenge to religious faith that Williams presents and how both offer important guidance for the life of faith in our modern, secular age.



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David McPherson
University of Florida

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