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Dispute About The Public Significance Of Religion: An Opening Reflection

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Chapter Summary

José Casanova starts his book Public religions in the modern world with the statement 'Religion in the 1980's went public'. The strong version of secularization was already weakening when the role of religion was seen as a cultural archive providing symbols and opinions, at least latently, for textual and pictorial symbols in music, literature, film, architecture and so forth. The main objective of Casanova's work is to confirm the thesis that religion is in 'a process of de-privatization'. The term 'in a process' suggests that religions have been privatized in the past and that now they are back on the tracks to public significance. The concept of functional differentiation is related to the concept of privatization. The reflection on the public significance of religion has to include a global perspective. A descriptive approach to the phenomenon of the public significance of religion is, from the theological and cultural perspective, incomplete.

Keywords: José Casanova; privatization; public significance of religion; secularization



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