Seculosity

by David Zahl     |     Book Summary


Author: David Zahl
Publisher: Fortress Press
Date: 2019
Pages: 211

Book Summary of Seculosity by David Zahl


Survey after survey reports the same trend. People today are not as religious as they used to be. Many will identify as spiritual, but fewer and fewer are willing to identify as religious. Affiliation with specific denominations is decreasing, as is actual church attendance. All the experts agree: the West is becoming less religious and more secular.

However, “the religious impulse is easier to rebrand than to extinguish” (p. xii).

Our religious impulses have migrated away from church buildings and toward a number of secular pursuits. Rather than looking for salvation in a particular religion or faith system, we are now looking for salvation in “everyday pursuits like work, exercise, and romance” (p. xiii).

Many secular people would disagree with this claim, confidently insisting that they are not at all religious. This disagreement is largely rooted in a misunderstanding of religion itself. While some focus on the external trappings of religion, it’s better to think about religion as a “controlling story” (p. xii). You might even use the word worldview.

Everyone has a worldview, and everyone lives under the influence of a controlling story. Traditionally, religion directed that story vertically, toward God. Increasingly, modern people direct that story horizontally, toward earthly pursuits. 

If we can’t agree on the definition of religious, perhaps it’s time for a new word: seculosity. This word is “a catchall for religiosity that’s directed horizontally rather than vertically, at earthly rather than heavenly objects” (p. xxi). While the traditional expression of religion is waning, seculosity certainly is on the rise.





Seculosity

by David Zahl

[ Book Summary ]



Book Summary of Seculosity by David Zahl

AuthorDavid Zahl
PublisherFortress Press
Date2019
Pages211


Overview:

Survey after survey reports the same trend. People today are not as religious as they used to be. Many will identify as spiritual, but fewer and fewer are willing to identify as religious. Affiliation with specific denominations is decreasing, as is actual church attendance. All the experts agree: the West is becoming less religious and more secular.

However, “the religious impulse is easier to rebrand than to extinguish” (p. xii).

Our religious impulses have migrated away from church buildings and toward a number of secular pursuits. Rather than looking for salvation in a particular religion or faith system, we are now looking for salvation in “everyday pursuits like work, exercise, and romance” (p. xiii).

Many secular people would disagree with this claim, confidently insisting that they are not at all religious. This disagreement is largely rooted in a misunderstanding of religion itself. While some focus on the external trappings of religion, it’s better to think about religion as a “controlling story” (p. xii). You might even use the word worldview.

Everyone has a worldview, and everyone lives under the influence of a controlling story. Traditionally, religion directed that story vertically, toward God. Increasingly, modern people direct that story horizontally, toward earthly pursuits. 

If we can’t agree on the definition of religious, perhaps it’s time for a new word: seculosity. This word is “a catchall for religiosity that’s directed horizontally rather than vertically, at earthly rather than heavenly objects” (p. xxi). While the traditional expression of religion is waning, seculosity certainly is on the rise.