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Recognizing the Non-religiousReimagining the Secular$
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Lois Lee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736844

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198736844.001.0001

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Introduction Revisiting the Secular

Introduction Revisiting the Secular

(p.1) Introduction Revisiting the Secular
Recognizing the Non-religious

Lois Lee

Oxford University Press

This book’s core question is whether ‘not religious’ people are characterized and identifiable by their lack of engagement with religion or whether they are influenced by sensing or performing their difference from religious others. Are they meaningfully non-religious or are they largely indifferent to matters of religion? To what extent should unreligious rituals and practices be understood independently of religion if they have religious equivalents or antecedents? If they are developed in contradistinction to religious cultures, is it sufficient to understand them as insubstantially areligious, post-religious, or secular, rather than as substantively non-religious? This chapter sets out the distinction between the ‘secular’ and the ‘non-religious’ upon which these questions rely, and explores how it might be possible to move from an overly inclusive and therefore slippery notion of secularity to a more specific set of concepts.

Keywords:   non-religion, secularity, indifference, secularization, religious change

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