The question of religion in secular society is really about the deficit of understanding in the development of science. Science confronts increasingly elusive hierarchies of complexity and tends to throw out oversimplifications rather that confront the fact that science has as yet no answer. This is true of the neuroscience/consciousness debates, among others, and as a result of such issues thinking falls back into religious categories by default. A good example is the issue of mindfulness in its current manifestations: this situation is actually a step beyond our ‘complaint’ and has actually remorphed the issue into a secularized bridge concept. The issues of Xtianity, beside the more ‘buddhist’ issues of consciousness, deflect the ‘secularist’ due to the mythological form of the historical theology. And that history is the core itself of a new understanding, one we can find in the study of the macro effect: this time the puzzle connects so many things we are forced into a larger framework: Confucianism, Indian religions like buddhism, Persian/Israelite monotheism, and the Greek ‘Axial nexus’, the original core secularism (taking the term ‘secularism’ against our strictures to not confuse this term with specific concepts). This background of the Axial period (and this will extend itself further into the background epochs to the Neolithic and beyond) is led by the complex modern transformation which to a close look is trying to integrate all of them. Part of the confusion then is that history in our macro sense doesn’t repeat itself, and we must take not just from the modern transition, but from the whole legacy of the macro series. History overall shows progression, but the progression here is confusing to us because the series is short, three to seven cycles of stepping progression, which means that much of world history is a collation of the ‘modern’ in a series of steps. The best examples here are buddhism, the greek invention of modern science, and much else that we have forgotten. The saga of revelation is thus larger than its conventional Judeo-Xtian legacy. And it fact the modern case stands in the same category and starts to override its antecedents. This can backfire as we become fixated by the dross of lost worlds.
So the secular remains to be defined as it confronts a hypercomplex dialectic of multiple worlds all entering ‘modernization’ (so to speak) from the Neolithic onwards. With this perspective the futurism of a projected postcapitalist social complex will also be the study of the ‘future of the Paleolithic’ hominid entering the ‘end times’ of civilization. This needs to be more than a hodgepodge or the worship of tradition, and will come as the entry to a new era begins to put the legacy of the millennia since the Paleolithic in perspective.
This is the reason for the many conflicts of old and new too often pitting religion against scientism. If we thought this collision with Judeo-Axial mysteries was bad, the coming reckoning with the gnosticism of early Egypt should prove better than the movie starring Boris Karlof: ‘the mummy walks’ demands a ‘secular’ reckoning. Somewhere in that lies the riddle of star wars resolved and the jump to hyperspace. As noted several times here: the issue of man confronts several enigmas so far eluding science: the issue of soul in the context of mind, and the still more elusive ‘will’ as an aspect of a larger nature. At some point the realm of science must confront its own legacies from the early modern, and find some accounting of the major philosophic advance of Kant/Schopenhauer, with some attempt to understand the relationship of the mind and its categories to space/time itself.