Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Amphibolies of the Postmodern: Hyper-Secularity or the Return of Religion?

Author: William FRANKE, Professor of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University



This essay begins by articulating the turn from modernism to postmodernism as a function largely of the progressive take-over by technology of every aspect of our lives.  The difference between nature and culture, between the given and the produced, between the real and the artificial dwindles to practically nothing.  When this difference is eroded to the point where it presents itself to us as just another artifice, then we lose the very horizon of a reality that is given to us as nonnegotiable. In this situation, the human realizes itself without limits, but set up on this basis it is also poised to implode.  It does so for lack of any external support or resistance from something that is not itself.  The structures of totality and infinity that have been transferred onto our own human work of endless construction cannot be sustained by anything merely finite, such as is everything that we produce—all our language and culture and institutions.

Philosophical secularization carried to its limits thus turns inside out and becomes a re-opening to religious reflection and its theological heritage and underpinnings.



postsecular, postmodern, technology, metanarrative, reenchantment


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