Secularization or Religious Pluralism?

What is the “big story” that scholars should tell about the relationship of religion to the modern world? For many decades, social scientists believed that modernization led ineluctably to secularization. Modern goods such as science, democracy, technology, social mobility, and the free market meant that, sooner or later, religion was destined to swoon and irreligion [Read More…]

The Limits of Free Speech?

The moment you limit free speech it’s not free speech. ~Salman Rushdie In the wake of the recent near attacks on the satirical cartoon contest sponsored by the American Defense Freedom Initiative self-appointed pundits have begun to talk about the “limits of free speech,” asking questions such as: is some speech so provocative that it should [Read More…]

Monotheism and Religious Pluralism

This semester, I’m teaching an introductory course on “Religions of the West.” My initial hope was that the crafters of the curriculum meant the American West. I figured I could spend half the course on Mormonism, complementing that with units on native religions, Mexican-American Catholicism, and the development of eastern religions on the West Coast. [Read More…]