NATURALIZING CHRISTIAN ETHICS: A Critique of Charles Taylor's A Secular Age

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William D. Hart, Professor and Department Chair (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This essay critically engages the concept of transcendence in Charles Taylor's A Secular Age. I explore his definition of transcendence, its role in holding a modernity-inspired nihilism at bay, and how it is crucial to the Christian antihumanist argument that he makes. In the process, I show how the critical power of this analysis depends heavily and paradoxically on the Nietzschean antihumanism that he otherwise rejects. Through an account of what I describe as naturalistic Christianity, I argue that transcendence need not be construed as supernatural, that all of the resources necessary for a meaningful life are immanent in the natural process, which includes the semiotic capacities of Homo sapiens. Finally, I triangulate Taylor's supernatural account of transcendence, naturalistic Christianity, and Dreyfus and Kelly's physis-based account of “going beyond” our normal normality in All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics for Meaning in a Secular Age.

Additional Information

Journal of Religious Ethics, 40(1), 149–170
Language: English
Date: 2012
god, humanism, naturalism, nihilism , secular, transcendence

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