secular_age.jpg“For Taylor,” writes John Patrick Diggins in The New York Times Book Review, “belief is not what science finds but what religion hopes for. Yet, in the larger perspective of intellectual history, the validity of belief may turn less on the clash of science and religion than on a concept of a deity in all its paradoxes….But Taylor seems uninterested in explaining the ways of God, and he argues that religion needs no justification on the basis of its good works while secularization, which some thinkers argue is necessary for tolerance, endangers the religious values that may save us from the temptations of our selfish desires.”

“To see the sacred within the profane,” Diggins concludes, “to derive God from the sentiments of society, does little to relieve us of Weber’s secularized world where politics is no longer an ethical calling and religion no longer an ascetic ideal. Taylor may locate the drama of the soul in society, but the meaning and mystery of God remain as elusive as the enigma of existence and religious morality becomes little more than social convention. There are many reasons to read the profound meditations in A Secular Age, but waiting for God to show up is not one of them.”

Read the entire review.