After God

After God

After God

After God

Synopsis

Religion, Mark C. Taylor argues in After God, is more complicated than either its defenders or critics think and, indeed, is much more influential than any of us realize. Our world, Taylor maintains, is shaped by religion even when it is least obvious. Faith and value, he insists, are unavoidable and inextricably interrelated for believers and nonbelievers alike.

The first comprehensive theology of culture since the pioneering work of Paul Tillich, After God redefines religion for our contemporary age. This volumeis a radical reconceptualization of religion and Taylor's most pathbreaking work yet, bringing together various strands of theological argument and cultural analysis four decades in the making.

Praise for Mark C. Taylor
"The distinguishing feature of Taylor's career is a fearless, or perhaps reckless, orientation to the new and to whatever challenges orthodoxy.... Taylor's work is playful, perverse, rarefied, ingenious, and often brilliant." - New York Times Magazine

Excerpt

You cannot understand the world today if you do not understand religion. Never before has religion been so powerful and so dangerous. No longer confined to church, synagogue, and mosque, religion has taken to the streets by filling airways and networks with images and messages that create fatal conflicts, which threaten to rage out of control. When I began pondering these issues in the 1960s, few analysts or critics would have predicted this unexpected turn of events. The governing wisdom at that time was that modernization and secularization go hand in hand: as societies modernize, they secularize through a process that is inevitable and irreversible. I was never convinced by these arguments, for two reasons. First, all too often critics did not appreciate the intricate relation between secularity and the Western religious and theological tradition. As we will see, religion and secularity are not opposites; to the contrary, Western secularity is a religious phenomenon. Second, and closely related to this point, the critics who advanced the secularization theory usually had a simplistic understanding of religion, which tended to restrict its scope in a way that limited its importance. Secularists misinterpret religion as much as believers misunderstand secularism. Religion is not a separate domain but pervades all culture and has an important impact on every aspect of society.

To appreciate religion's abiding significance, it is necessary to consider not only its explicit manifestations but also its latent influence on philosophy, literature, art, architecture, politics, economics, and even science and technology. To the tutored eye, religion is often most influential where it is least obvious. Over the years, I have tracked the traces . . .

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