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Contrasting Modernities: 'Postsecular' Europe And Enspirited Latin America

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Chapter Summary

The rationale of this chapter is to show the value of Charles Taylor's analysis for a comparison between the religiously vibrant scene in Latin America and the uniquely secular context of Western Europe. A cynical sociologist of religion might suggest the increasing use of the term 'postsecular' indicates that Europeans who had taken for granted the irrelevance of religion in modern society have been forced to revise their views by the appearance of Muslims in the public sphere of Europe and North America, and of Islamist terrorism as a feature of global politics. The rise of a world-wide, transnational Pentecostal movement, together with the Islamic revival, and the politically potent resurgence of ethno-religiosity in some of the newly independent states of the old Soviet empire, constitutes the most obvious counter-evidence to the thesis of secularization as intrinsic to the process of modernization.

Keywords: Charles Taylor; Europe; Latin America; North America; Pentecostal movement; Soviet empire



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