Religion and the Myths of Secularization and Separation

Veit Bader
RELIGARE Working Paper No. 8

This paper discusses the difficulties we encounter in working out with care and detail – in conditions of extensive religious diversity – a concept of religion that is not biased towards ‘Western’, Christian or Abrahamic religions. Yet, it also tries to show that we need such a concept for practical and scientific purposes. With the aim of ending the unhappy marriage between ‘modern’ sociology and a predominant political philosophy that has uncritically legitimized the ‘secularization of societies’ and a pretended ‘secular state’/politics, the paper discusses whether it is possible to develop critical concepts of ‘the secular’ and of ‘secularization’ that are free from their Western, Christian and Protestant bias. It intends to show that only polycontextual and perspectivist concepts can achieve this and what such critical concepts look like.

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