Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 12, No 1 (2016)

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Secularism as Monoatheism: The Inverted Theology of Disenchantment

Aaron Jacob


Everyone can agree that modern Westerners live in a secular age. That the process of "disenchantment" which led to this age constituted an epistemic loss, that it was not just a rejection of false beliefs but a real alteration in the way the world is experienced, has been shown by previous scholarship, notably that of Charles Taylor. This paper makes the case that this disenchantment was not only a latent possibility from the earliest interactions of Christianity with pre-Christian Roman society, but developed from theological and political developments unique to Western Christendom. In so doing, it builds on the work of Taylor as well as that of Michael Allen Gillespie, who has written about the theological origins of modernity. It also provides a brief illustration of a recurrence, within the secular epistemic frame, of the same distinct features Christianity demonstrated in Rome which first made that frame possible.

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