Religion in the National Agenda: What We Mean by Religious, Spiritual, Secular

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Baylor University Press, 2009 - Religion - 241 pages
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In this highly provocative investigation, C. John Sommerville examines common linguistic uses of the terms "religion," "religious," "spiritual," and "secular" in order to discern understandings of these words in contemporary American culture. For example, he finds that, in English, "religion" is our word for a certain kind of response to a certain kind of power (the power and the response both being beyond anything else in our experience). Sommerville then uses these definitions to examine the ways that institutions in the fields of education, science, law, politics and religion are affected--often in unexpected ways--by a shared set of assumptions about what these words mean.

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Defining Religious and Religion
Why Religion and Education Challenge Each Other
Religion and the Law

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Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

C. James Sommerville is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Florida.

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