Posts in post-secularism
Mid-Nineteenth-Century Secularism as Modern Secularity

In the early 1850s, a new philosophical, social, and political movement evolved from the Freethought tradition of Thomas Paine, Richard Carlile, Robert Owen, and the radical periodical press. The movement was called “Secularism. ”ts founder was George Jacob Holyoake (1817–1906)….With his involvement in Freethought publishing, he became a moral convert to atheism. However, his experiences with virulent proponents of atheism or infidelity and the hostile reactions to them on the part of the state, church, and press induced him to develop in 1851-1852 the new creed and movement he called Secularism….In Ryan T. Cragun, Lori Fazzino, Christel Manning, eds. Organized Secularism in the United States. Boston and Berlin: De Gruyter (November 2017): 31-56.

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Introduction: Global Secularisms in a Post-Secular Age

One of the great ironies of Western political history involves the term “social justice.” Although a core idea within liberalism and socialism for at least 175 years, the background and origin of “social justice” was a cultural and political conservatism. The irony of the “cultural appropriation” of social justice by liberalism and socialism has recently redoubled. Suggestive of a seemingly undeniably intangible good—that is, of just, fair, well-ordered, and harmonious social relations—social justice is now implicated in fierce and sometimes violent antagonisms. Social justice crystallizes in two words some of the most contentious issues roiling North American politics today. Contemporary social justice bears little resemblance to the original social justice or even more recent movements that have gone by the same name. [n Michael Rectenwald, Rochelle Almeida and George Levine, eds. Global Secularisms in a Post- Secular Age. Boston: De Gruyter (2015): 1-24.

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Secularism (in George Eliot)

Secularism is an orientation to life that places paramount importance on the matters of ‘this world’, and considers observation and reason the best means by which the things of this world can be known and improved. It has its roots in a response to religious belief, but is not necessarily a form of religion in itself . In some forms, secularism has been preoccupied only with the elimination of religious belief; in others, it is concerned with substituting a secular creed in its place. This latter form of secularism was embraced by such ‘advanced’ middle-class writers of the Victorian period as Thomas Carlyle, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold and George Eliot. In Margaret Harris, ed. George Eliot in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013. 271-78.

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