Thursday, 4 August 2011

Post-secularism

C. John Sommerville's book is a brilliant indictment of the modern university. He writes about it in an article published in Reconsiderations, available online. As he says there, "Secularism is an impoverishment of thought. Religion can be a way of opening our minds, and quite relevant to intellectual questions," adding:
To be clear, accommodating Christian and other religious voices would not make universities Christian. They would remain secular in the sense of being neutral. Religion wouldn’t rule. But it need not be ruled out. Universities wouldn’t be officially Christian unless they somehow privileged Christian viewpoints. That would not be good even for those Christian viewpoints. We need to keep them honest, and you do that by leaving them open to discussion.
This seems to be a good example of the right kind of "post-secularism" -- what many Catholic thinkers these days are calling "a new secularity" genuinely open to truth, unlike the "liberalism" wrongly so called, which closes the mind in advance by operating with a narrow conception of both reason and freedom.

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