Contested Concepts: Religion, Fundamentalism, Secularism

– Welcome back, I’m Michael Kessler, executive director of the Berkeley Center faculty member in the government department and theology in the Law Center. This panel is our final panel before we hear from Jose, who will have the floor in about an hour and a half. The topic is “Contested Concepts: Religion, Fundamentalism, Secularism.”

We have three very distinguished colleagues of Jose, friends of the center, eminent scholars. First R. Scott Appleby, who’s the Marilyn Keough, Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs, and a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. It’s been 27 years since you concluded a major project,

Which is the subject of one of the contested claims here, the fundamentalism project, but it’s done much work on contending modernities among many other topics. Next is Beth Hurd, who is the professor of political science and religious studies and holds the Crown Chair in Middle East Studies at Northwestern University,

And works on religion, immigration policy, the global politics of secularism, and where I know her most from debates in religious freedom, and secularism. And last, but not least, is Hent de Vries, who is the Paulette Goddard Professor of the Humanities at New York University

And director of the summer School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, and formally, much closer to us at Johns Hopkins. So we have asked each of the panelists to offer about eight minutes of reflection on the significance of Jose’s work in light of these three contested categories

And their own thinking about the significance and the challenges ahead. So first, Scott. – I wanna join everyone in thanking our host. And since Bob Hefner began a litany Allah continue of spurned suitors of Jose, at the same time Notre Dame was trying to grab you. But for some reason, apparently,

You decided the Jesuits were more meaningful to you than the congregation of Holy Cross a younger French, I don’t know why, why you did that. – Today is not the day. – I’ve got three quick parts, and I’m gonna stick to my text so I can stick to my time. Overall, I’m asking how his mind has changed. That’s the core of what I wanna talk about. The fact of deep and abiding pluralism, expressive of multiple and varied forms of religious and secular interaction,

And co-imbrication renders it impossible to speak of the modern world as determined by a single material structural or moral homogenizing process. This much we have learned from Jose and others. On the other hand, they remain striking non-superficial, non-trivial resemblances across these multiple forms and expressions of religion, which demand closer scrutiny before assuming

That the forms and expressions are not each in its own way, partaking in reacting to a set of global conditions and circumstances that we’ve identified, for example, the widening excessive inequality between rich and poor within and across regions, countries and localities, the increasingly ubiquitous regulatory reach of the state,

The ramifying contestation is about an over social media and other technologically empowered methods of social control, we could proliferate some of these well known contemporary conditions, such conditions and circumstances further demand of an evoke from all religious and indeed secular subgroups, a logic of response. A strategy or strategies of resistance, accommodation,

Withdrawal, whatever it may be. By the way, this little part of my presentation is just letting you know what I’ve learned these two days. I hope it’s by way of summary and his account of religious subjectivities during the previous session, Patrick Gilger called this what I’m calling a logical response to the circumstances,

A style of public participation or publicity in his Catholic cases the style is premised on an acceptance of differentiation in the public square, while resisting differentiation and preserving the integrity or wholeness of the religious or spiritual community in question. And of course, we know there are multiple publicities, multiple logics of response

And disparate justifications for each chosen logic. So it seems to me the question we’ve posed this last day, is how we might ask, does the combination of the core premises of modernity as experienced today, and deepening pluralism. How does that combination contextualize the moral and organizational choices

Which religious and secular movements and groups make, those are the contexts. This is my way of asking how has Casanova’s mind changed since the publication of public religions 28 years ago. 14 years ago, right cutting that period in half, he gave us a midterm report, and a 2008 essay published

And hence religions beyond the concept volume. There, Jose revisits public religions after 911, after the political ascendancy of Huntington’s clash of civilizations thesis, after he had begun to wrestle Jose, that is with the fact of religious pluralism in a newly profound way. And as he was pivoting toward his concept of global denominationalism.

At the time, Jose was still enamored of both multiple modernities and the twin tolerations. And even though it seemed that I heard yesterday, a little bit of backing off on the multiple modernities concept, I’d like to hear more about that. I think Jose would still stand by his rejection

Of the single cosmopolitan modernity as a general process of secular differentiation, indeed, is a normative global project. But the question is then, how are we to conceptualize plural global imaginaries? And how are they different now than when the Jesuits roamed the earth embedding themselves in non-European cultures? And what are global denominations exactly?

Is this an updated form of the Global Local, Jose cause Pentecostalism in that 2008 essay, maybe not for the first and certainly not the last time cause Pentecostalism, the first non-territorial global religion. If I understand you correctly, but we Catholics know that the Jesuits are a religion unto themselves and their extraterritoriality

Preceded the Pentecostals by centuries. And are the Pentecostals really still recognizably unrecognizable, in terms of their lack of structure, doctrine, their logic of resistance and a combination? I think that’s an evolving question. There was great enthusiasm then in 2008, and I heard yesterday as well from Jose and others,

For integrating into any theory proposing to comprehend religious secular, modern ways of knowing, believing and acting, such new old facts as inter-civilizational encounters, trans-cultural limitations and borrowing, diasporic diffusions and hybridity. This awareness, appreciation and integration Jose wrote in 2008, would surely displace the presumption of Western hegemony in cosmopolitan homogenization.

Adding that he added, that we tended to call any religious or secular threat to this western enlightened project fundamentalism. And this thus is introduced the contested term I’m supposed to address here and what remains. I’m not sure if in that article, Jose was defending the fundamentalists, denying their existence or defending the anti-modernists,

Who are typically denigrated as being a threat by virtue of their resistance to what they see as atheistic modernism. In any case, I come not to deny their existence and not quite to to defend them. But to agree with the claim implicit in Jose’s condemnation of binaries, that they,

So called fundamentalist should not be relegated to the uncharted waters of the ancient maps that simply warned here be Monsters, or as we would say today, here be bad religion. Of course, fundamentalisms are hardly anti-modern, they are quite modern, it fiercely opposed to elevating the conventional technical and material aspects

Of modernity to an existential way of being in the world. In its most egregious misapplication, fundamentalism is applied to any movement, party or individual who offers theological or religious warrants for their public positions and programs, when those positions or programs are judged by the labeler, to deviate significantly

From liberal secular or cosmopolitan norms. If non-violence and this is a theme I like us to pick up at the end to return to the question that it’s arisen here a couple of times. If non-violence is to be the one true global fundamental, as it were.

Extremist religious groups are hardly the only violators of this one moral norm, whose universality is thinly assumed but observed in the breach every hour. The 17 clusters of movements, groups, organizations we studied in the 90s, roughly simultaneous to the writing of public religions, under the rubric of fundamentalism.

These clusters of movements included Hindu, Jewish, Islamic as well as Christian offshoots, did appear to follow a comparable mode of religious logic, a habit of mine which manifested itself, the mutatis mutandis as a strategy or a set of strategies, by which believers attempted to preserve what they embraced,

As their distinctive identity as a people or group, feeling this identity to be at risk. They fortified it by selective retrieval of doctrines, beliefs and practices from sacred or primordial past. These retrieved fundamentals were defined, modified and sanction in the spirit of shrewd pragmatism. They are to serve as a bulwark

Against the encroachment of outsiders, who threatened to draw the believers into a syncretistic our religious or irreligious cultural milieu. Moreover, these fundamentals are accompanied in the new religious portfolio by unprecedented claims and doctrinal innovations. By the strength of these innovations and the new supporting doctrines. The retrieved and updated fundamentals are mentary

Regain the same charismatic intensity today by which they originally forge communal identity from the formative revelatory religious experience long ago. These groups took different attitudes to the state as they do today. From the Hindutva organizations in India, the secular Jews in the West Bank, the Bible believers in the US,

Who, each in one way or another, enjoy a mutually manipulative and interdependent partnership with a supposedly secular state. To across the spectrum state defying would be state replacing Muslim Congress, they recognized and exploited internal religious pluralism. And while they made a big noise about despising external pluralism, these 17 clusters groups and movements

Shared a tendency to borrow and continue to borrow from secular as well as other religious ideologies and tactics. My point is, they’re not so much far out there and the kind of processes we’ve been describing across movements. They’re not that much of an outlier. And not least they became increasingly transnational

From the early 20th century onward to this day. So why can’t these types of groups be seen to fit rather neatly with and be generously included within the array of global religious forms across a moral and ideological spectrum? Unless, of course, the global denominations must be called

And expected to develop something like a moral consensus, say, against violence, against the repression of women, the taking of slaves, and so on. This of course, is something very like, the good old secular religious consensus that inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So this is yet another way of asking you, Jose,

How your mind has changed on these questions. And particularly, I’d like also to get a minute to explore not only the question of non-violence in this global imaginary, but also your comments about moral pluralism and what that might mean. – Thank you so much, that was great.

Jose, you’ll have a few minutes after each host speak. – Put at the end. – At the end, yeah, Beth. – Okay, thank you so much, Michael. Hi, everyone, it’s good to be here. Thank you, Jose, for hosting this wonderful event. In a recent post, a shout out to my colleague here

On the contending modernities blog. Nelson Maldonado Torres reminds us that whoever defines, identifies and explains religion wields much power. I think we’d all agree this makes Jose very powerful. Today, I’m interested in pursuing his important work on the category and history of religion by considering what it means to decolonize,

Globalize and pluralize this category, that is to use the modern term religion to teach with it, to write about and around it. How do we do that? Given its intense entanglements with colonialism, its dizzyingly complex legal lives, its embeddedness and even complicity at times in histories of domination,

Many of which we’re now learning are deeply racialized. Is it possible to use this category without reproducing these hierarchies? Is it possible to do something other than simply say, we were wrong. Modern rational religion we all know was defined by a lack of entanglement with supernatural power, with magic are with the state.

Bad religion is criminalized as dangerous, uncivilized, wild, pre-modern, thuggish and demonic. In his earlier work, Jose provided an alternative a powerful alternative to these simplistic narratives. Yet we know that making religion across colonial settings did mean excluding practices described as superstition, magic, witchcraft, and so on. Working in the shadow of religion,

As I’m proposing here does not mean that we can just include those practices in the category and then move on. You can be a religion, you can be a religion, and so can you. Instead, we have more work to do, we need to decolonize and pluralize the category itself

Open it up into and onto other possibilities, and “To Think Religion Otherwise,” which is the title of the paper that this talk is based on. I agree with Webb Keen, we can’t just throw away these categories though. They’re part of elite and everyday discourse as they mediate self awareness just about everywhere.

He says the categories of themselves become social facts. David Chittister agrees after reviewing the history of religions, colonial productions and reproductions we might happily abandon religion and religious terms of analysis, if we were not as the result of that very history, stuck with them. So my question is simple, are we stuck?

Standing in the shadow of this category means I think striking a balance, taking some distance from it without acting as if it’s no longer influential. Here I wanna highlight a new book that I think achieves this balance admirably Brent Crosson, “Experiments with Power: Obeah and the Remaking of Religion in Trinidad.”

Brent sets out with the benign intention of recuperating Obeah, a form of spiritual work to add it to the pantheon of protected world religions. He wanted to show Obeah as also a religion. He wanted to morally vindicate it from ambivalence and even dark popular associations,

Which he conceived of as the product of its colonial and postcolonial criminalization. It was actually a crime in Trinidad until 2000, and remains a crime today, in much of the Anglophone Caribbean. Crosson runs into problems. He’s forced outside of the category of religion and into its shadows and here things get interesting.

He says, I came to my research wanting to defend Obeah as a religion, but his interlocutors reversed the terms of this project. Rather than making Obeah into a religion. They made me ask, How does spiritual work challenge the hegemonic limits of the category of religion itself, forced outside the comfort of this category,

Crossing abandons his redemptive project. Some religions then it appears are forced into the shadows. An example is the American occupation of Haiti 100 years ago, in which historian Kate Ramsey shows US occupiers equated sorcery with popular insurgency. Sorcery was in fact framed as the source of insurgency.

The Americans enforced laws against lisa tillage or spells in the name of moral decency and of consolidating American control of the island. This was not understood to involve the export of or establishment of religion, however, but the promotion of universal values of free market, modern scientism, public health, secular marriage and gender conventions,

The rule of law and religious freedom. And this is a global story involving the invention of modern ideals not only of religion and secularism, but also citizenship and nationalism. Now, some might counter that that category of religion has already been adequately decolonized and dissected.

The US is after all out of Haiti, at least for now. But my current research on Santa Muerte the patron saint of the marginalized in the poor in the American Mexican Borderlands suggest otherwise. Santa Muerte has many devotees in the Borderlands and all over North America.

In the eyes of US law enforcement, however, and echoing their forefathers who occupied Haiti a century ago, Santa Muerte poses an existential threat to US national security. This is palpable in a 2011 master’s thesis written for the US Marine Corps University in Quantico, whose title says it all,

“Santa Muerte: Threatening the U.S. Homeland.” The author warns Santa Muerte is in and of itself a religion incompatible to good order and discipline and promotes a society of lawbreakers. Counterterrorism authorities describe devotion to her as spiritual insurgency involving the worship of a perverted Christian God,

To invite her and her devotees into the pantheon of world religions I think would be a mistake. How do we do them justice without reducing them to the categories from which they’ve been so violently excluded? Here, I think Jose’s current work on the Jesuits rises to the challenge by opening new perspectives

On early modern globalization and Jesuit evangelization. That challenged persuasively modern assumptions about the West globalization and modernity. He calls us to focus on the brokers, on the borders, on the spaces in between. I’ve run into one of his Jesuits in my current work in the borderlands Eusebio Francisco Kino, Father Kino,

A Tyrolean Jesuit missionary explorer, cartographer, and astronomer, whose missions in the primary altar, which is now Northern Sonora, Southern Arizona, shaped the political, cultural and religious landscape in the late 1600s until his death in 1711. Father Kinos legacy lives on today in the Kino Border Initiative,

Which works on behalf of humane migration policy between Mexico and the US. The Jesuits to perhaps came to live in the shadow of religion overtaken as they were at the time of their expulsion, by the rise of a new kind of Western hegemony. Perhaps Jose would agree that modern religion is crossed

And concludes must be pursued through what it excludes, rather than through its recognized representations. In our search for new vocabularies to approach the ambivalence of power beyond modern religions, moral racial limits, Jose escorts us to and through an earlier world before those limits had firmly taken hold. Obeah, Santa Muerte and aspects indeed,

Of the early modern Jesuits practice, exceed a model of religions is mutually exclusive communities gathered together around sets of beliefs and rituals. They allow us to think religion otherwise, thank you. – Well, thank you. – Good morning. I would like to begin, as well by thanking Jose Casanova

For making this wonderful event possible for the book and the subsequent work that we are celebrating. It has accompanied me, since its publication, and in my own individual research, and in collaborative projects, devoted in reverse order to the history, concept and ongoing relevance of so called political theologies,

To the empirical and also intrinsic relation between religion and violence, religion and media, old and new. And last but not least, and more recently, in a project on spiritual practices, or exercises,. Jose’s work has been a constant reference also that I have shared with my students

Assigned on syllabi, and is part of my Canon so to speak. It’s an honor to be here today, and to learn from you all. And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Thomas Banchoff, Michael Kessler and Ruth Copan, for their repeated gestures of hospitality,

Here at the Berkeley Center over the years. There’s little that has not already been set, and better than I can do it. So let me just make a few personal observations and propose some further, I’m afraid, all too abstract and somewhat speculative thoughts, on which I hope to expand in the written version

Of this contribution. In some, I want to say something about the ongoing relative, in my view, metaphysical and pragmatic usefulness of the category of religion, perhaps over and against the others in the title of our panel, namely fundamentalism and secularism. That’s a bit of a provocative claim, but,

And I won’t be able to substantiate the claim sufficiently, but at least it’s a thought. I’ve also been intrigued by Jose’s more recent proposal to look at early modern Ignatian spirituality and its forms of organization, quote, through the prism of globalization, and conversely, of looking at the letter

Through the lens of the former while avoiding both anachronism and reductionism. And I would like to venture some very tentative suggestions as to where that might leave us now. A quarter century after the publication of by now classic public religions in the modern world, quite a few things, undeniably data and trends,

Causes and ends have significantly changed and become more apparent. So my question basically, is in what ways and to what extent, have global transformations affected the books underlying concept of Public Religion, as it has continued and it seems increasingly manifested itself, in what we are still inclined to call the modern world.

Have these transformations or rather, revolutions, which are not merely scientific and technological, but economic and political. And that we somewhat vaguely designate as global have they necessitated shifts in our understanding, that are nothing short of paradigmatic, or have we merely come to see that there are still more blanks to fill in

Epicycles in the overall pictures to add, and so on and so forth? Do we need to broaden our horizon to include for example, non-western or non-European, say non-secular, pre para or post actual cultural domains, regions and periods, to improve our comprehension of what has happened and keep on happening, keeps on happening today?

Or do recent phenomena and current affairs that we are faced with require that we more fully reset and reorient our thinking, and one hopes, also, our acting and practices or practices in a more profound and vertical fashion, espousing an altogether different metaphysical and pragmatic viewpoint, one that is at once deep and resolute,

For lack of better words. In any case, should we perhaps adopt a perspective and take an approach that cast its net, even wider still, reaching back into the what I like to call immemorial past and archive of religion, and more, perhaps even further out into the unfathomable future,

While continuing to search also around us, for all that does not quite match our expectations so far? This much is clear. In the last quarter century, ever newer and paradoxically, in the very nature and structure or format, more and more global publics have kept emerging.

And this up to a point and beyond the critical point, where the polysemy of the very meaning of public, as well as for that matter of modern or world, including their enabling, surrounding and transcending Lifeworld in the western alien and Habermasian lingo, have undergone fundamental and wide ranging changes.

There is little doubt that the original meaning and force contributed, attributed to the concept and practice of Publix has been subject to a near-alietory process of indefinite perhaps infinite dissemination, which has all the demeaning and used or force of these concepts and references in question virtually beyond recognition.

As a consequence, we can no longer simply assume that a single or even pluralistic body or body politic, made up of constitutive products, with some overlapping consensus so much as exists in our present, if ever it did, or ever did, and does that it has much chance of surviving

The ongoing proliferation and exponential growth of proverbial markets of commerce and communication, money and instrumentalisation not to say militarization to say nothing about the more and more recurrent at times symbolical, at times violent reactions and revolts against them. After all, the letter hardly restore the older sense of public.

If anything, they modernized transform and globalize it further diffusing its putative origins as if there were none. And this is perhaps why fundamentalism were always so deeply modern. Now, I would like to give an example as to where the contemporary emargination puts pressure on the boundaries of these concepts of public religion,

But also of fundamentalism and secularism. When the science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, in his 2020 novel, “The Ministry for the Future” recommended by President Obama and New York Times podcaster, Ezra Klein as a must read, which I agree with. Invokes the inalienable rights of generations of future beings,

The totality of mankind and indeed of all non-human animals. When in fact and as a matter of principle, he thinks through the models to enforce them, with virtually all possible means, ranging from the diplomacy and exertion of soft power to covert that is, strictly speaking, extra judicial forms of violence when necessary,

And also resorting, interestingly to old and new religious sensibilities. But this is both metaphysically, abhorrent and pragmatically sound, when gets, I think an idea of totality of universality fundamentally might mean, totality here is almost like an idea of a good beyond being, but indispensable nonetheless.

In both our present and Robinson’s “Not Too Distant Future,” sociological and intellectual categories, such as fundamentalism and secularism seem less and less relevant, or at the very least, not that productive, in the sense of conducive to greater justice, equality, and the democratic mobilization of movements and masses,

Which would be required to ward off the worst and to avoid the catastrophe. If the ongoing changes in the meaning as well as reality, one is tempted to say a reality and virtuality of the global in these above remarks are correctly summarized then, surely the analytical tools, and the normative realm of expectations

And justifications must have shifted and must further shift accordingly. And yet, while the contested concepts and practices of fundamentalism and secularism have in my judgment largely succumbed to the quote, unquote, death of 1000 qualifications, to cite Anthony Flew in his famous article, “Theology and Falsification”

That is under the onslaught of the multiple historical and empirical, social, cultural, economic and political pressures of the current late modern age, such that there is also ample reason to believe that they are in their very concept and what remains of their practices increasingly worn out

Then this, my suggestion is, is not the case of religion. We need not naturalize or even believe so much as we need, that we need religion. As Robert Towler’s suggested title “Homoreligiosis wants all too naively implied,” and as Hans Joas nuanced considerably,

In order for us to claim that it religion continues to form or at least inform our horizon for now. In this respect as a critical term, and heuristics or strategic concept, religion has already shown to have a longer lifespan than any of its contenders or offshoots, or even presumed successor forms.

We will be still talking religion, just as there will be an abundance of and I would say need for God talk. Well, after fundamentalism and secularism, have lost much of their present currency. I would even go so far as to suggest that perhaps the terms populism and liberalism,

Both in its relatively benign form of political liberalism, and in its pernicious economic ideology of neoliberalism, may well have been the most plausible substitutes for these theorems, fundamentalism and secularism. Just as authoritarianism and naturalism are their political, theoretical and quasi epistemic analogues and functional equivalents. Anti-authoritarianism was, as you will recall,

The later Richard Rorty’s term of choice to demarcate the stance he had earlier to his regret, described as anti-clericalism. And naturalism he added in an essay on God talk, or to be no longer in the business of ontology, but precisely of cultural politics, which simply means of figuring out

What is better for us to believe. Now, I have some further remarks, giving an example with the help of Jose’s work on the Jesuits and globalization. But I’m looking at Michael, because I may have to leave that for the next round. – Maybe leave that for the next round,

Because I think each of you have opened up a number of questions that I think we should let Jose who has been exceedingly patient throughout this conference, to jump in, and perhaps answer a couple of these important questions, and then we can continue to probe each other’s definitions. – Why don’t we ask questions, rather than- – It’s your show. So, Beth, Scott, Hent. Beth, you were taking a lot of notes when Hent was opening his critique of religion and religions. Do you have further questions for him? – I’ll probably need some time to think about it. Before I have a question.

But I agree with this on its sort of gut reaction level, that these terms secularism and fundamentalism are worn out in the words that you use, and that religion, I’m not sure I agree. I think it’s worn out in certain ways too but maybe it has other aspects or other dimensions

That have yet to be fully thought and fully explored. So I think I’m on the same page there. And I do think that asking this question about the concepts in Jose’s book, the terms that you’re using, the categories that you rely on, and how the development

Since that book came out almost 30 years ago, may have actually transformed the meaning of those terms, how we’ve understood them, what goes into them, and the need to sort of catch up, I think and reassess. How do we think the questions that Jose was thinking when you wrote that excellent book?

How do we think, how do we ask those questions today? Are they different questions? If so, how are they different? And if they’re different questions, do we require different concepts in order to reorient and reset the conversation? So I think the forward looking aspect, the kind of renovation of those content concepts,

The revisiting of those concepts is a really important task for us today. And I would love to hear your thoughts because, we always I remember Willington Talal said to me, “I never read anything I wrote, after it’s published, I will not read it.”

And I thought, wow, I really like reading what you wrote after it was published. But I kind of, I think that all of us, when we go back and visit something I’m imagining here and projecting on to you, Jose, but after 30 years, you think, wow, to what extent

Does this still hold water? Is it still alive and still speak to the transformations and challenges of our time. And so to me to reassess those categories and to rethink what we mean by publics. And what we mean by religion and to kind of renovate

Our understanding of them to update with where we sit today, I think is just extraordinarily important. And I agree with, initially with what Hent was talking about, although I don’t know what an alieatory processes. I have to admit, I’m not quite that fancy. But- – What doesn’t know. – I wanna just build on this also, because I know Jose wants to listen and wait before he jumps on your, where you’re leaving Beth, the word one of the words you used when you refer to the tired nature of fundamentalism, secularism, maybe even religion, is neoliberalism.

And I think if I understood you correctly, you were saying almost you could replace some of these terms within the category or put them within the category near liberalism if I understood you correctly. This question is why come back to the question of a moral global or what that might mean?

And whether what we’re talking about we step back within the sphere of religion, but not only religion, that the world is even more clearly configured around power dynamics, wealth accumulation, neoliberal capitalism, and everyone in a way, is in some kind of responsive mode, accommodation resistance mode. And so the question is almost not

What is fundamentalism, what is secularism? But what are the kinds of modes of reaction, response, resistance, accommodation, to a global order that has seemed to me to be overwhelmed by markets, by capital, by wealth, by this widening inequality, which affects religious expressions, but not those alone? So whether fundamentalism or secularism,

Whatever these terms should become or or be shelved? I think the question, the moral questions of violence, and I’ve been pleased that these have come up as including in the tribute to the constructive and positive explorations you’re making about how do we move forward in a moral framework within this context?

I think those are really interesting questions. And we almost come back to these contested terms after thinking about what is the context that we’re all facing, and which religious groups can opt out of that, which religious groups can escape it. Maybe the Amish but but even the Amish so anyway,

That your immigration there have a larger social and economic, I think homogenizing tendencies that are more pronounced than they were in 2008, 1994 changed his game for us in a way. – To read or do you want me to enter the conversation Hent? – Well, I was going to give two quotes from the later essay that I referred to on the Jesuits and globalization, where you write two things that struck me deeply. And I’m grappling with what the implications of it would be,

And where it would lead us. So one quote is that, “We are entering a new dissented global age after Western hegemony. And the other is the following and perhaps even deeper, where you say, and I quote again, if on take seriously the argument that processes of globalization are contingent historical processes,

Not functionally necessary processes are consequences of modernity, that the most important lesson from the global history of the Society of Jesus, as its prefigures globalization and for helps us to form a lens as what route might have been taken as well, is that different historical processes

Could have led to a different age of globalization.” And then you conclude by saying one enters and that’s the abstract speculative thought that appeals to be hopeless metaphysician as I am among social scientists and political scientist. “One enters thereby into the highly problematic, yet illuminating field of speculative what if stories,.

The merit of such theoretical exercise or thought experiment resides not so much in its ability to construct rational social structures freed from any particular historical constraint, but rather, it is facilitating the critical reflexivity that is required to free ourselves from what Charles Taylor calls the unthought,

That is to allow us to reflect critically upon the deep taken for granted structures of our own epistemic and metaphysical presuppositions.” And so without wanting to develop this now in the article, which now most of you will have read and which I cannot render in a few terms, the question then becomes,

So what is this appeal to another globalization in the early phase of the globalization mean to us without falling into reductionism or anachronism? How is that counter model as it were a prism or lens that allows us to reopen, let’s say, the debate on globalization and on modernity.

My fascination with that was that, it speaks exactly to what I suggested earlier, namely that, religion is and remains the larger immemorial archive whose unfathomable resources will inform even the most enlightened critical thinking. And through the sheer wealth and depth of that repository and reservoir, enlightenment thought or more than secularity

Will always be on the losing end, be less imaginative, less resourceful, less interesting, less but it’s better for us to believe as it were. At the same time, I could not suppress a certain worry, namely, as to whether the model of Ignatian Spirituality and its practices would allow for an openness

To everything that the contemporary world demands and challenges and asks of us as it were. And in that sense, my abstract speculative or metaphysical question is perhaps also my being stuck in a certain Habermasian perspective, not so much of the discourse theoretical framework, but this sense that you find prominently

In the Theory of Communicative Action, that modernity stands and falls and rationality stands in falls with there being a formal concept of an objective world, nature, the social world and an inner world that can be filled up, that can be particularized in multiple ways. And the challenge I think in religion,

And that may be the distinction between rational, relation and lived religion, or revealed religion, or historical religion, is always whether it’s universal idea seats to a form of particular reason, that at the same time also always opens up as it were. But I’ll stop here for now. – While those are impossible questions,

I wish I had some answers to them. I mean, I think we need to pause them today. Let’s begin with a one your race on global denominationalism and who do we include here, which is close to your question, who is included in our category of religion and who is excluded is bad Religion,

Therefore not religion, but magic. Which of course brings us to Durkheim in the sacred and profane because really, for him the fundamental distinction between religion and magic. Religion is the publicly sacred, whatever is societally publicly sacred is religion, whatever is private and it’s magic and superstition. Which is a way of saying that

Privatize religion precisely is magic, while the sacred secular is what is the sacred in modern societies. This way of putting it. So on global denominationalism, the arena making history based on the place of mutual recognition. Of recognition without giving up the claims to truth of any of the religions

To accept and the equal claims of others. So this is one aspect of it. And actually, the idea came to me very obviously, when I was doing simply visiting in Umbanda temple in Sao Paulo. The founder is a famous heart surgeon, so a very secular expert,

But also has written a lot of books on all forms of oriental mysticism, Indian, Tantric, Parisian, Sufi. So he’s both a scholar of mysticism. He’s a surgeon and he’s the priest of the so called superstition, let’s say Afro-Brazilian religion. And the slogan in their own temple is, we are different but not unequal. In this idea, yes, we are different, we are not Christian, we have a different religion, but this can make us less than others. So this notion of emphasizing the uniqueness, the particularity, while also appealing to the universality, so how can we do both? And obviously, I think the solution has to be

In some form of linking of precisely religions in the sense of the post-sacred Axial religions dealing with transcendence, therefore, the end the notion of civil religion. So we have to accept both, a global denominationalism, which brings a certain affirmation of the difference of his religion and the right to be different,

While also accepting their claims to equality, universality, whatever, while at the same time realizing that this is not enough, that we still need some common moral universalism, let’s call it the sterilization following hands, the sterilization of the human person that precisely will lead to some questions of non-violence.

So not the sacralized the human person. But what this means in practical terms, it cannot be answered theoretically. For me, it’s very clear that whatever we call equality, gender equality, obviously we all are for gender equality, will my colleagues, Muslim feminists claim that for them Islam is the best religion

Because it is the one that really, really emphasizes gender equality, all my secular feminists what are they talking about? So obviously, we are both appealing to the principle of gender equality and yet what it means for us concretely personally is very different things. But this also what, the same thing goes to public

Is fear in democracy, et cetera. I was always stuck on socialities, I spent all my life teaching the founders of the discipline, Marx, Durkheim, excuse me, Marx, Tocqueville, Durkheim, Weber, and then Mosei and then the Chicago. And for me Tocqueville, these obsessive with the notion that equality, democratic equality is the providential,

Unstoppable force of global history, that nobody can stop it, everything is contributing to equality. And he calls democratisation the unstoppable force. And he could not see gender equality as part of this force. So if the great prophet of equality is really marvel at the fundamental definition of what is,

Could not see gender equality, you realize precisely how pragmatically we are embedded in countries that we do not allow us to ask this question. So the best we can do is precisely to free ourselves from the unthought. And how do we do it? Well, then precisely by being able to

Cross from our culture to others, from our language to others, from our historical period to others. What the gesture is this for me? For me the Jesuits had been the typical anti-enlightenment, anti-modern, I’m come from Spain, they are bad guys, because they were the bad guys in barbarous police history,

They decided with the country formation, decided with the anti-enlightenment, and so in the nation, they were spelled rightly so many times. And then the question is, why did everybody gang up on them? Where they so dangerous, so bad that everybody, every Catholic Kings as they had to be expelled from every country?

Every Catholic king and then ultimately by the Pope’s and so on. The idea is, I realized how much my whole thought is caught up in the fundamental Theories of Modernity, which is was what sociology is, a theory of modality. Hegemony theory of western modality. And to free myself from it,

I had to go beyond or earlier than modernity, and realize it when I say that the global age something is, we are entering. That we cannot view this simply as a continuation of western modality. That we have to realize that, we have to break with this western hegemonic face

Of organizing the world, either through capitalism, through the West national system of state, but how to do it? So again, it’s not a so another question of counterfactual. But then the idea is, when they go, when Kino goes to Sinaloa, when Kino goes to the Southwestern Native Americans.

I mean I visited Kino territory in Mexico two years ago and fascinating to see these tribes that still remained bear the Jesuits is that left them for 200 and they didn’t want to have any other priests but them. So they’ve welcomed the Jesuits again, now they are the missionaries,

They are the missionaries they respect. But the same thing was with the Japanese that have been underground for 200 years and with the French missionary in the 19th century came, and after having been exposed to so many Protestant Christians, a Protestant ministers and they ask this, are you married?

No, I’m not marry, I’m a Catholic priest so you are a padre. The idea again, so the idea that somehow there was a relationship there. So the question to colonial how to decolonize, to realize the colonial encounter was much more complex than our own theories of colonialists.

That religion has not been simply the construction of Western circularity. And this is my main distinction with Talal Asad. The notion in the beginning, the encounter of the Jesuits, they themselves didn’t know what religion is and they don’t use the category. But in the encounter itself,

They open up a possibility of different types of things, differential of religion and culture. So it has been a process of 300, 400 years. So we have to enter the whole intercolonial exchanges, heavy, much more complex than our theories of Western hegemony and anti-Western Orientalism imply. – [Beth] Absolutely.

– So this is basically way of getting at it. Obviously, hands a bit, I was going to make this come in later. Yesterday, when I felt this fantastic reconstruction of my live work, I was not shocked because I had read it before in German. Otherwise, I could be shocked

That somebody can understand yourself better than you do. And in reconstructed and by looking precisely in the particular programmatic countries, the seats in 11, there are many countries within which your ideas are being produced. And so we are struggling all of us, nobody has an answer.

If somebody thinks that anybody knows where we are going, we have no idea. So let’s be honest, and let’s try to free ourselves from our certainties of what we are building realized that we are. In a certain sense, Durkheim was right. The old gods are there, the new gods are being born.

But of course, this has been going on for 200 years. The reason for a constant transitional thing that we are moving. So rather than knowing what the telos is recognizing that no, and they will make a difference, how do we project what we want to construct

Or the thing in there is a telos we know really what the telos is. So this is where transcendence comes in. So the power of transcendence to free us from the notion that somehow whatever in money, whatever we can rationally construct is all there is to it.

And this of course, the power of Durkheim’s pre-rational, rational, the societal, is we in the non fully rationalisable. So the origin of the social, there is something which is transcendent. And of course, he doesn’t want to accept the very notion of really, non-human transcendence, and therefore, it’s somehow in the social.

But the fact that they cannot all be rationalized, then they attempt to rationalize fully what we construct. And that simply it’s, so there is some mystery, there some questions that we cannot answer rationally, and that we have to accept through other means of getting it them.

Let’s put it this way, there is no spot illogical. For instance, and violence and pieces. We know this pope is committed to going beyond just war theory, getting read together for wars. Yes, it’s pathologically this world we all want. But then when the real world comes you need a just war theory,

To say which kind of defense is ethically defensible and which kind of defense is simply entering to the logic of war. So again, I think that we are not there so we can try to, but here’s the problem sometimes with this Pope, he can be very, very clear and criticizing the devil,

Let’s say in the liberalism and the capitalism kills. But then there are things that actually will kill, then he’s much more reluctant to call it. And so this is where we’re struggling with telos. Yes, of course, we all want to have a war without wars, without violence.

But we are far from it and we still out in business big, have to accept that this cutter is not here yet. – Beth, Scott had comments or further questions for Jose? – I was looking for a little more certainty from you. No, but I think I think the ambiguity we face is, is the reality of it. And so I appreciate the way you wound up your comments, the uncertainty of it, and where we headed is not a teleological destination. And I was struck, I’ll simply say, I was struck yesterday by the exchange,

About the situation in Ukraine, and it’s one thing for Parylene, to say, we’re opposed to, that the Ukrainian should defend themselves, but just don’t give them the means to do so. – Beth. – No, I think I would love to just, hear you say a little bit more about

The category of public religion, in particular, and how you’ve people use it all the time. Are you happy with how it’s used? Do you think that it does justice to that which it seeks to capture or represent in its current forms? And its current instantiation, current usages?

– Well, as you know very well it had a very clear normative element. What is good public religion, and obviously, Talal Asad challenged me on this right? – Of course, yeah. – And I became very clearly conscious that my whole category came out of the experience of adjournment of Article Two

And the way in which this was a unique historical moment. And the one on evangelical Protestantism is where it opens the possibility of a cacophony, I talk of the cacophony of the public sphere, in which all the voices precisely are equal. And it’s we can enter into precisely

The fragmentation of media and the public sphere that we are all observing today. I mean, even in all the countries I feel so confident democratic, leaving my honest pain is a mess. And obviously, a lot of European countries have gone through unthinkable ideas that somebody like Berlusconi

Could be elected three times to office, right? And obviously, let’s find out I mean, I always, when Trump came into the picture, I always said, “Well, this is our Peron,” and we are going to have Peronism for a long time. And Peron obviously was defeated again and again.

But Peronism reasserted itself in a way in Argentinian politics that made basically almost the democratic game impossible, because in so we have to be honest about the possibilities that our own democracies are in various you just travel and therefore the public is fear, I was always aware of the notion that mobilization itself

In civil society can be very undemocratic, obviously. I mean, this was something that when somebody like bowling alone was offered, Putnam was talking about these movements in Italy, and obviously Juan Linz that has studied a lot about this failure of democracy pointed out all these moves,

Those are the places where fascism were the strongest. So, these civil society that you are talking about is the one that actually open itself up to fascism so seriously. So obviously, we need history and we need to be very, very humble about our presentism.

And think that certainly wherever is now is the best and we have so open ourselves to learning from other people also from the past and it’s mainly from Primavera from primal, I mean, the question of actuality of course, raises the question are you then the religious which are actually therefore universal, therefore good,

Because the other which are pre-axial, but point is that today, this my point, precisely Umbanda wants to so I acceded to the ceremony. And, of course, first you have the kind of the public ceremony in which everybody’s invited. And you have very much like a procession

Of white clad ministers into something looks like a lot of priest been together concelebrating in mass, but of course, half of them are women, which of course, you know it’s not the Catholic Church, when half of the priestesses are there concelebrating. But this is in a kind of a celebration of equality,

And human rights and… Then comes the actual pragmatic aspect of exorcism where people come from healing. And then you have the public event and because you have publicly, the way in which people come is clients to be exercised by the people they are,

So you are presentialy, all these type of exorcisms they are and obviously, a lot of people are helped by in the process, not everybody, they may go to some other place to find salvation or to find healing. And then you have their own Santa Sanctorum. Then they invited me what initiation

Into the real Umbanda religion, was of course, one that for me was the most exotic, if you will, the most mad superstitious in you is right. But I realized that these surgeon can have this possibility of living in this world of view with practical religion.

But of course, he knows that we are in the 20 century of global moral universalism, and is he himself is fluent in all forms of mysticism of all the world religions. This our 20 century. – Jose, we can draw in a few other people into the conversation at this point,

We have about 15 minutes. Yes, Craig, – Not quite sure. Which individuals direct this two. I’m wondering how much the discussion continues to focus or is focused overwhelmingly on the ideas of good and bad order and not disorder. That is the extent to which the accounts of public and public religions but also in democracy, I presume, an order, not the cacophony that Jose has also referred to,

But that there is some resolving order, from the state, from morality, from reason, from somewhere, the discussions of public religions invite inter-civilizational look at good and bad order, alternative order, multiple modernities. But where is the place? I mean, Hent says alliatory processes we throw dice

Or something, but where is the place of non-order in this? And it seems to me that lots of the motivation in the projects that are at issue is the fear of disorder or the attempt to avoid disorder or non-order not merely to choose among orders,

So I’m just kinda struggling with how that fits in. – Yeah Hent. – Yes, thank you Craig, that helps me clarify, my thought on the matter, and it speaks to something that Jose brings up because I think I was trying to press the point. Thinking back to harbor masters theory,

That there is something on a superficial level. And I’m not doing justice to all the complexities, but, one might come away with the following impression, namely, that given the global impact of let’s say, world capitalism and the world system of nation states, which left to their own devices create havoc,

In their mutual clashes, but also intrinsically, we need to imagine history narrative, as a resource, as a repository, as an archive, as I said. Tapping into its forces of subjectivation of embodiment and of community and whatnot. So I take Jose’s work but I may be wrong of having shifted,

Let’s say to Habermasian, pragmatic paradigm, somewhat away from let’s say, communication back to interaction and love and friendship and things that religion know something about. My worry, and that goes back to Craig’s question is that, that may run the risk. Even though it acknowledges human finitude and cacophony,

It may run the risk of thinking too optimistically or too ecumenically, about the possibilities of encounter of an intertwinement and I was struck, I made a note of this, of a passage in the interesting recent biography of Robert Bellah, the book by Matteo Bertolini, who quotes a research proposal that apparently

Did not make it at the Rockefeller Foundation, a quote from Richard Matson in August 2006, which reads as follows, “The strains upon the emerging global civilization, might produce civilizational breakdown, that could be solved only by new social and cultural breakthroughs, perhaps even a new actual age.”

And now, that suggests to me that the moment of transition of how to orient ourselves individually and collectively in an age of global transformations may be dictated as much by this continuity as by possible continuity. And in my vocabulary, that would mean that, to think through, to return to almost like the tradition

Of not of manichaism, or dualism, but a form of metaphysical occasionalism, so that each thing happens. And history after all, is one damn thing after the other, is the occasion for a miracle, disaster or redemption or a catastrophe. Now, without being too hysterical about that or too dramatic about it.

One wonders now then whether Jose has not at bottom, this may be a form of ontological positivity on his part, which I think is a good thing also, has not relatively optimistic gradualist or ecumenical view of how things might work out in due course or if not, at the level of prediction,

The only path forward to have them work out in ways that are not pernicious or detrimental. And I found this passage, first, actually, in the syllabus that he kindly made for a seminar last year at the school of criticism and theory, but then also in similar words, in global religions and secular dynamics,

The modern system of classification where he writes, and I quote, taking a long duray, global perspective from 1492 to the present, one can see two seemingly divergent routes, the internal European road of secularization without religious pluralization and the external colonial route of Global Intercultural and interreligious encounters,

Leading to the global system of religious pluralism. Presently, we can observe the intertwinement of religious and secular dynamics, through the globalization of the secular imminent frame, and the expansion of global denominationalism, end of quote. And now, one element of that is, to somehow shortcut if that’s the right description,

A discussion that can become super tedious namely, did Europe or did the Atlantic West, secularized or not? And by saying, well, let’s take that as a factor completely, but let’s also provincials it and contrast it with a larger global domain where all these dynamics play out in a different way.

– Hent, Scott is itching to jump in. – All right sorry. – He has his point. There were a couple of points of contact. And earlier what you said in taking it back to Craig’s question. I wonder if we might consider now Pentecostalism as one of the world’s fastest

If not the fastest growing religious movement, that in a way it was born out of the experience of disorder, of collapse of chaos of economic displacement of not being and its own dynamics. This is what I was trying to get at earlier. How much Pentecostalism itself

And it’s trying to reconstitute a sense of order. And because the question is, are there structures that are or is Pentecostalism itself evolving structures of order and boundaries, when in fact the emphasis the religious experience of Pentecostalism is not that, it is a cacophony of voices of movements of spirit?

But it’s born out of a sense of collapse crisis disorder. So the dynamic there is this the global religion, the global religion that arises out of a sense of displacement, dispossession. Of course, Pentecostalism has replicated with its mega churches and its wealth, and it’s a lot of the processes we see elsewhere.

But it’s, I think, an interesting empirical case to ask these questions about order and disorder. – And of course, Pentecostalism is not only a different religion, different from Christianity, but now Pentecostal Christianity has penetrated every form of religion. So you find it of course, in Brazil,

You have now more Catholic charismatics and Pentecostals. In Ethiopia, you have a charismatic renewal within the Ethiopian Church, which perhaps they didn’t have for centuries. So the poor in India, you have of Pentecostal movements, within all forms of Christianity and so on. And you could argue about not the same Pentecostal

But movements of renewal with non-Christian religions in this respect. So yes, I think that again, purely sociologically, if you start with Durkheim you say you have ultimately this question about the faith or trust or optimism. That ultimately if the social produces the sacred religious, that will ultimately disorder cannot be, it could be,

Disorder can’t be the final, it could end everything right. But somehow there is trust in the Durkheim sense, within the societal, right? Certainly there is an emphasis greater than order than disorder in the whole tradition. And one could say the same thing within theology, right? Sin is explained as a disorder.

But of course, sin is there all the time. So the question is, you need rituals to understand that then comes some special days in which you feel that despite everything, life triumphs over death. So, yes, do I needs some kind of trust, is there a glass half full or half empty?

What I prefer to say is half full because if by saying is half full, it helps people to try to make a self fulfilling prophecy. I prefer to be proven wrong. By having heaven optimistic outcomes. That didn’t happen, then to be proven right by having a pessimistic outcome that actually did happen,

Because I believe that our own definitions of the situation can make a difference in the outcome, then I think that to have an optimistic outlook is societally, so purely sociologically makes sense. And of course, theologically, if you are a person of faith even more so.

– So we have time for one more question. If anyone is… – Charles has been very silent. I would like Charles to enter into this. – [Charles] This three questions. What you just said. Isn’t, pop cultural spiritualism the greatest threat to the world’s great religions going forward? Whether it be Harry Potter or… Whoever cares to answer it. – No. – No, I mean, I don’t think that. I don’t think that I mean,

No again, you’re one of our colleagues who wouldn’t come here is Peter Vanderveer, who has added to our whole debate between the sacred and religious you have to add a spirituality in magic superstitions are the four categories that have emerged together as part of our modern discourse everywhere.

And we have to integrate them, we can’t when all these people who say, I’m a spiritual, not religious is a way of saying, I want to be religious, but who can be religious given these institutions, right? So I rather stick to my own spirituality rather than follow these institutions.

So I guess that in all of those things, the spirit moves in all kinds, I would say the spirit moves everywhere in all kinds of places, even outside of the church, I would say, yes. – Charles, did you have a final thought? – Well I have a thought yeah. Maybe this problem order and disorder, we’re always trying to seek order by I wanna make this distinction between, morality and ethics that people have made, morality is what we all do each other, some principle of justice and so on, really is the negation of negation, you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that

Deprive people of rights. And ethics is some sense of what proper human fulfillment is about. Maybe, on the level of morality, you never can get a system which is really going to work because there are some kinds of, overriding of justice, which can only be defeated by ethical growth,

I’m thinking of what I was gonna say yesterday, that you get bones of ethical growth when you have something like Gandhi, preaching non-violent resistance. And it’s only through that, that you can solve the conundrum of achieving the liberation of this people buy from that oppression and still have some kind of

Relationship or friendship. And we can only get over the present crisis, what we call populism, which, if we have an ethic, where people feel really fulfilled by exchange with others, in the sense that the fullness of humanity only comes from exchange with others. So, you can only get over certain kinds of breaches

In order, if the ethical advance occurs with a large enough number of people. So at a certain levels of ethical growth, there is no solution. You have to fight things out. And by fighting things out you hurt other people and you create reactions and so on.

In that this can be seen as a pessimistic outlook. If you think there’s no further ethical advance possible in humanity, this is very pessimistic story. But maybe that if this is possible, then its a long-term optimistic story. That’s my sense. – Thank you, Jose. Thank you, Scott, and Beth and Hent.

We will leave the stage and now we will turn it over to you for the concluding remarks and then we’ll adjourn to lunch.

#Contested #Concepts #Religion #Fundamentalism #Secularism