Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion - In Celebration of Tim Jensen’s 65th Birthday - Peter Antes

Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion - In Celebration of Tim Jensen’s 65th Birthday - Peter Antes

9. Towards a Secular Theory of Religious Experience

Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion - In Celebration of Tim Jensen’s 65th Birthday - Peter Antes

Olav Hammer [+-]
University of Southern Denmark
Olav Hammer is Professor of the Study of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark. His main areas of research are new religious movements and other non-traditional religious currents in the post-Enlightenment West. His most recent publication is Western Esotericism in Scandinavia (Brill, forthcoming in April 2016; edited with Henrik Bogdan).

Description

The title of this chapter is calqued on that of a book that the recipient of the present Festschrift edited together with Mikael Rothstein (Jensen & Rothstein 2000). The aim of that book was to present views on religion that were freed from theological agendas, even in their most vestigial guises. Two common elements emerge from the contributors’ papers – over and above the negative self-definition as not pursuing a religious goal. First, the term ‘secular’ is to be taken as shorthand for employing the same naturalistic and critically informed kinds of theories and methods that are found in the natural sciences, the social sciences and humanities. Second, given that the prime agent in the world of religions is the human being, and not spirits, gods or ancestors, understanding human motivations is paramount to understanding religion. The present chapter constitutes a belated voice in the same chorus that collectively made itself heard in Jensen’s and Rothstein’s volume, and argues for similarly discarding any remaining vestiges of religious agendas when approaching that staple of our discipline: religious experience.

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Citation

Hammar, Olav. 9. Towards a Secular Theory of Religious Experience. Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion - In Celebration of Tim Jensen’s 65th Birthday. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 115-126 Feb 2016. ISBN 9781781791394. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=28096. Date accessed: 09 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.28096. Feb 2016

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