Beyond belief: secularism, religion and our muddled modernity

Seth, Sanjay. 2022. Beyond belief: secularism, religion and our muddled modernity. Postcolonial Studies, ISSN 1368-8790 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

This article argues that the very idea of religion, as the genus of which the various ‘world religions’ are the species, is a modern invention, and thus comparisons between religions – including those pertaining to their capacity to recognize and adapt to the necessary distinction between matters of religion and matters properly belonging to secular society and the state – rest upon a deep conceptual error. Religion is made or produced, it goes on to show, in part by the interventions of the state; the claim that secularism is the process by which politics and religion come to be ‘separated out’ is therefore untenable. It concludes by asking how we might understand religion and secularism in the light of this, if it is no longer possible to understand them in the conventional way; and also what the implications of such alternative understandings might be for the narrative of modernity of which the secularization thesis is a part.

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Religion, secularism, modernity, postcolonialism

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10 January 2022Accepted
10 February 2022Published Online

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Date Deposited:

10 Feb 2022 17:25

Last Modified:

10 Feb 2022 17:25

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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