By Erin K. Wilson (auth.)
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Additional info for After Secularism: Rethinking Religion in Global Politics
Religious institutions are separated from political institutions by law. Religion becomes a matter of personal belief and conviction, one that cannot be enforced on others or promoted beyond the private realm of family and individual life. Religion’s irrationality (which is connected to its focus on the transcendent) provides justification for keeping it in the private realm, along with other ‘irrational’, intangible potential influences on politics and public life – emotion, culture, history and tradition.
Europe’s secular nature is emphasized over its Christian connections and the dominant narrative told about Europe’s historical development is the Subordinating Religion 39 successful separation of religion from politics and law to establish communities of peace and tolerance (Willaime 2009: 24). This highlights the ongoing influence of dominant modes of secularism and secularization theory in International Relations. It also emphasizes the dualistic thinking that underpins secularism, with society separated into public and private realms and Europe only able to be ‘secular’, its Christian heritage confined to the past, with little recognition of any ongoing influence from religion on political identity, values or practices.
44 After Secularism These four moves have been outlined and challenged by several authors (Casanova 2009: 1053; Philpott 2009). Consequently, this section provides an overview of these four moves and the recent critiques of them, rather than a detailed analysis. The possibility and necessity of separating religion and politics The first of secularism’s four moves involves establishing that it is both possible and necessary to separate religion and politics from one another. In order to establish the possibility for separating religion and politics, these two aspects of society had to be conceptualized as belonging to two different spheres of existence.