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Fundamentalism or TraditionChristianity after Secularism$
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Aristotle Papanikolaou and George E. Demacopoulos

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285792

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285792.001.0001

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Secularism: The Golden Lie

Secularism: The Golden Lie

(p.21) Secularism: The Golden Lie
Fundamentalism or Tradition

Graham Ward

Fordham University Press

In contemporary rhetoric, secularism, modernity, and atheism are invoked as the end of a linear narrative of historical progress, but with the anthropological insights of Bruno Latour regarding scientific atheism, Graham Ward argues that secularism and modernity are abstract, mythological concepts, a “golden lie” upon which the modern state is built (as in Plato’s Republic). Latour recognized the exclusion of the concept of “God” in scientific investigation, while at the same time scientists raised the level of “fact” to that which is absolutely true (i.e., outside of time and space). In a similar way, the demythologizing project of the Enlightenment sought to exclude religious traditions and history from the modern, secular state, but in the process, it developed a new mythology of the anti- or a-religious that began circa 1500. Instead, the basic concepts of this worldview, such as the “immanent frame,” the “buffered self,” disenchantment, and “exclusive humanism” imply their own falsehood. Even the French laicité has shifted from an antagonism toward religion to an attempted neutrality for the sake of inclusivity and the bureaucratic state.

Keywords:   atheism, cultural imaginary, Bruno Latour, immanent frame, modernity, laicité, secularism, transcendence

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