Some Theses on Secularism

Peer Reviewed


Secularism is both a doctrine and a set of practices that correspond to it and exceed it. The practices help to compose us. But most “secularists” overlook the role of the practices themselves, thereby supporting a shallow pluralism. This, in turn, left them unprepared, in the States, for the emergence of a new “evangelical-neoliberal machine” in the 1980s that has operated in both private and public domains. What is needed today is the formation of a deep, multidimensional pluralism that cuts through the old secular formations and supplants the new machine. It is difficult to forge such a new machine, but suffering will be severe if we fail because of the persistent pressures at work in late modernity to “minoritize” the world along several dimensions. Some ways to press in this direction are explored.

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