History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Waning of Axial Age religions

January 16th, 2013 · No Comments

I don’t think the Internet is the causation here, although its rapid info-transformation can have many effects.
The obsessive anti-religion of current ‘secular’ culture is spoiling the natural trend to move past the religions of the Axial Age. We have noted here many times the way in which the epochal transformation of modernity begins, with the Reformation, to erode the foundations of the traditional Xtian religions. But a close look at modernity from the early modern on shows an immense amount of spiritual creative action, and in the nineteenth century an immense new set of foundations are explored in the massive ‘New Age’ movement. The later is a contradiction in motion, because it is too often trying to recycle the same Axial Age religions in a perspective of anti-modernism. But a deeper current here is visible in the emergence of new recreations of many forms of the ‘perennial philosophy’.
The natural trends here are being wrongly evaluated by secular humanists and new atheists: witness the onset of a new idiocy, in the attempts to castrate Buddhism by negating the reality of ‘nirvana’. So even as the traditions falter, the decline of modernist thinking itself, visible in the narrow ‘new atheism’, is going to create a kind of chaos from which a new form of postreligion will arise, is arising.

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