1 What does it mean to say we live in a secular age?
- Public spaces (allegedly) emptied of God
- Falling off of religious belief and practice
- In terms of conditions of belief: move from a society where belief in God is unchallenged to one where it is one option among many
- People tend to focus on belief itself (rather than conditions).
- Taylor wants to focus on "what it's like to live as believer or an unbeliever" rather than belief and unbelief as rival theories.
- "the terrifingly other"/melancholy/middle condition
- "For believers [..] place of fullness requires reference to God, that is to something beyond human life and/or nature".
- "I am never, or only rarely, rearly sure, free of all doubt..."
- "We cannot help [...] looking sideways, living our faith also in a condition of doubt and uncertainty."
- The presumption of unbelief has become dominant in certain milieux.
- All beliefs are held within context/background which usual remains tacit (Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Polanyi).
- "It is this shift in background [...] that I am calling the coming of a secular age."
3 What is religion?
- Will think in terms of the transcendent/immanent distinction (which Taylor concedes doesn't work in general, but thinks will do for our purposes).
- Do people recognise something beyond their lives?
- "Does the best life involve [...] serving a good [...] independent of human flourishing?"
- Coming of modern secularity coterminous with self-sufficient humanism becoming a widely available option.
- Exclusive humanism arose via providential deism.
- The new context puts an end to naive acknowledgement of the transcendent
- Will argue against "subtraction stories"