The Recovering Secularist

I came across a good March 2003 article in the Atlantic by David Brooks on the "Recovering Secularist" – a six step program. This really got at how I’m feeling now a days, out here in the San Francisco bubble (or as some of my San Franciscans call it, the United States of Canada with the rest of the US "Jesusland"). The first step:

There are six steps in the recovery process. First you have to accept the fact that you are not the norm. Western foundations and universities send out squads of researchers to study and explain religious movements. But as the sociologist Peter Berger has pointed out, the phenomenon that really needs explaining is the habits of the American professoriat: religious groups should be sending out researchers to try to understand why there are pockets of people in the world who do not feel the constant presence of God in their lives, who do not fill their days with rituals and prayers and garments that bring them into contact with the divine, and who do not believe that God’s will should shape their public lives.

2 comments on “The Recovering Secularist
  • Interesting article. I’m sure you have taken U.S. history in school by now. What the religious boom reminds me of is the Great Awakening. According to my history teacher there have been 40 American Awakenings. It would be interesting to speculate that there is another one in the midst of our time.

  • Wow, this article will be really useful for some research I’m doing now. It started out being about secularism versus religionism but it’s gone way beyond that. Do you have a full copy (no longer subscribing myself).

    Ben, I don’t think you are as alone as you think. People just don’t talk about religion and spirituality in polite company.

    Can you believe I admitted to being religious at the AC2004 conference to some stranger (it made sense in context, but I believe he was an atheist) mostly to make a point.

    I was listening to a book tape by Thomas Moore (“The Soul’s Religion”, some very good parts, but mostly don’t recommend) in which he says much religion in U.S. is actually moralism (and this from a man that joined a cloister at 13). And a religious stance is present in anyone that is open-ended, trusts and surrenders.

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