Is faith a necessary virtue in the contemporary world? May it be, or must it be, detached from religious commitment? What do genealogies of the secular tell us about faith? Does religion need secular faith?
Secular Faith brings together leading and emerging scholars to reflect on the apparent paradox of "secular faith." Ranging over anthropology, religious studies, political science, history, and literature, from Muslims in China to Pentecostals in South Africa to a prison chapel in Texas, this collection of essays is as engaging and accessible as it is penetrating and rigorous.
Communism was once labeled "the god that failed." Like Christianity, Communism involves faith in a superhuman endeavor, conversion, myth, discipline, and salvation--and, from the perspective of secular liberalism, both are unjustified and false. In recent years, scholars have begun to investigate whether secularism is itself based on faith in a god that failed, or is failing. Nevertheless, many still embrace such a faith, finding in the spirit of democracy an ethos of eternal renewal. Secular Faith enters and broadens this conversation, interrogating secular faith in a global context, tapping new theoretical resources, and grappling provocatively with the tragedies and opportunities of today's profane pantheon of beliefs.