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How (Not) To Be Secular
Reading Charles Taylor
By James K.A. Smith
About the Book
A smart, intelligent guide to navigating today's culture
How (Not) to Be Secular is what Jamie Smith calls "your hitchhiker's guide to the present"—it is both a reading guide to Charles Taylor's monumental work A Secular Age and philosophical guidance on how we might learn to live in our times.
Taylor's landmark book A Secular Age (2007) provides a monumental, incisive analysis of what it means to live in the post-Christian present—a pluralist world of competing beliefs and growing unbelief. Jamie Smith's book is a compact field guide to Taylor's insightful study of the secular, making that very significant but daunting work accessible to a wide array of readers.
Even more, though, Smith's How (Not) to Be Secular is a practical philosophical guidebook, a kind of how-to manual on how to live in our secular age. It ultimately offers us an adventure in self-understanding and maps out a way to get our bearings in today's secular culture, no matter who "we" are—whether believers or skeptics, devout or doubting, self-assured or puzzled and confused. This is a book for any thinking person to chew on.
About the Author
James K.A. Smith teaches philosophy and theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, having previously taught at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He has been a visiting professor at Fuller Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and Regent College in Vancouver, BC.
Originally trained in philosophical theology and contemporary French philosophy, Smith's work is focused on cultural criticism informed by the Christian theological tradition. His more popular writing has also appeared in magazines such as the Christian Century, Christianity Today, First Things, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and others.