Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Journal Entry #3 (Smith, 79-121)

In this specific selection from James K. A. Smith's How (Not) To Be Secular, he discusses the development of the secular age in which we live. Humanity has continued to gravitate towards a strong sense of individualism, rather than the notion of authority. Due to the fact we're living in the Age of Authenticity, where the institution of religion has been reduced in favor of an expression of individual identity. Therefore, individuals begin to adopt a wide array of "spins" (in which we cannot consider the plausibility of other ideas) and "takes" (in which we are able to consider the plausibility of other ideas). Furthermore, humanity exists within closed world structures, which are aspects of common culture that tip our immanent frame towards a closed construal. It is extremely difficult for individuals to be involved in a debate or a discussion because of our innate desire to always be right; however, the field of philosophy effectively fixes this issue. With its logical, organized approach to fundamental problems plaguing the general public, philosophy strives to study the nature of existence, knowledge and reality and to resolve the problems plaguing mainstream society. By taking a step back and examining a secular age from a neutral perspective, I wholeheartedly believe we can come together to make a better world not only for ourselves, but for future generations to come.


  1. I agree with what you brought up about our society today being more individualistic rather than a collective. In this time and age a lot of people are very materialistic and self-centered where they only concern themselves with their personal goals. Clearly this isn't how it has to be. If you look at other places around the world it is easy to see that not every culture is individualistic. Take for example, Asian cultures; they are very family oriented and loyal to family members. They work to provide for the family as a whole instead of only worrying about themselves. So why cant we do the same? I do also agree that it is possible to come together and make this world a better place, but what will push us to do so is the question. In my opinion it will take some sort of disaster or a significant event in our society for people to wake up and realize that everyone needs to come together as a collective in order to cultivate a more well rounded world.

  2. I agree with both of you here. I think again, this relates back to the idea that Taylor brings up about wanting to believe in something bigger than themselves. So while we are a very individualistic society now, and there are other more collective societies, we are similar to those in regard to having a need for believing in something else. Taylor touches on how we are as a generation define ourselves more as spiritual than religious. Our spirituality leads us on a quest to kind of find ourselves. That is supposed to represent our generation, not necessarily our society. He also mentions that, like Jake said, it takes a form of tragedy or something to bring us together. People look towards tragedies like 9/11 as something that can bring us together as a society. He compares that to the funeral or Princess Di and concerts and raves. With those, people find the community and the "something bigger than themselves" they are looking for.