Secularism: The Hidden Origins of Disbelief
Spirituality is a difficult subject in the modern world. Everywhere, from popular media to the university, from the bookshelf to the dinner table, religions are derided or marginalised and public figures, such as Richard Dawkins, set upon anyone who admits...
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Spirituality is a difficult subject in the modern world. Everywhere, from popular media to the university, from the bookshelf to the dinner table, religions are derided or marginalised and public figures, such as Richard Dawkins, set upon anyone who admits to a belief in God. It seems that science and religion are fundamentally at odds and that mutual respect is unacceptable to either in their parallel pursuit of `truth. Yet most Enlightenment authors engaged with both science and spirituality and did not lose their faith. Today we tend to see these authors as not having applied full scientific rigour to their religious beliefs, but are we correct in dismissing this aspect of their lives so easily? In Secularism, Mike King examines the elements of religion, philosophy and science which have contributed to an almost total disavowal of spirituality by contemporary western intellectuals. He engages with a wide range of thinkers, including Pythagoras, Marx, Spinoza, Darwin and Nietzsche, and incorporates detailed studies of a variety of `spiritual leaders, some of whom readers are unlikely to have considered in this way before, to uncover why the western world no longer has any interest in devotion or accords it any respect.
Spirituality is a difficult subject in the modern world. Everywhere, from popular media to the university, from the bookshelf to the dinner table, religions are derided or marginalised and public figures, such as Richard Dawkins, set upon anyone who admits to a belief in God. The secular mind has been shaped by the Enlightenment legacy of Marx, Darwin and Freud, where disbelief has arisen from the twin impact of the rise of scientific rationalism and the revulsion against religious cruelty. In "Secularism", Mike King argues that the Enlightenment thinkers who initiated these arguments intended to improve, not to eradicate religion. Instead, a hidden factor is shown as the key to the origins of Western disbelief: the rise of a non-devotional spiritual impulse, best understood in Eastern terms.Its failure to be accepted, either by mainstream religion or the secular world, encouraged the expression of atheism. An uneasy detente developed between secular culture and faith tradition, which coexisted in a 'mutual ignorance pact' until the rude awakening of 9/11. King engages with a range of thinkers, including Pythagoras, Plotinus, Spinoza, Darwin and Freud, and, most importantly, incorporates detailed studies of a variety of spiritual leaders and Eastern thinkers, providing a perspective that readers are unlikely to have encountered before. A compelling case is made that the current antagonism between religion and science has no basis: the 'God' put forward on one side is too narrow a historical conception, and the science put forward on the other side is too limited to account for the variety of spiritual impulse.
Mike King serves as president of YouthFront, an organization creating environments for youth to experience spiritual transformation, and providing support to churches and youth workers. Mike also serves on the pastoral staff of Jacob's Well Church in Kansas City, Missouri, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and conventions. He and his wife, Vicki, have two sons, a daughter and two daughters-in-law, and he authored Presence-Centered Youth Ministry .
- Issues In Secularism And Culture; Secularism, Atheism And Scientism; Secularism And Contemporary Culture; Philosophy And Secularism; The Role Of Language; Psychology, The Brain And Secularism; The Shibboleths Of Secularism; Articulating Spiritual Difference; The History Of The Spiritual Life; Four Spiritual Polarities; The Varieties Of Spiritual Impulse; Pathologies And Correctives In The Spiritual Life; The Problem Of 'god'; The Bhakti / Jnani Distinction; Returning To The Roots; The Twentieth Century; The Enlightenment; The Spiritual Wounds Of The West; Bhakti And Jnani In Western Development; Piety And The West; Jnani, The East, And Hellenic Influence; A Radical History Of Western Development; The Undefended Western 'god'; The Enlightenment Reconsidered; Deism; Failure Of The Western Jnani Religion.