Existentially, what is it to live within the secular without the sacred? In the absence of religion, can secular frames of reference provide worthwhile sources of significance? For Charles Taylor, "religious longing, the longing for and response to a more-than-immanent transformation perspective ...remains a strong independent source of motivation in modernity." In line with this contention, I argue that the secular is frequently taken to be inadequate: to self-deflate. This essay applies a range of arguments: the role played by ideals, the implicit, the yearning emanating from the imperfect (that is, the secular frame of reference); and the roles played by what the perfect (that is, the sacred) has to promise. Rather than being some kind of end-point (self-sustaining, self-containing, self-limiting), the secular frame of reference readily generates momentum towards, sometimes into, the "truly" perfect. The notion of "a secular age" has to be qualified.

Ideal, Imperfect, Implicit, Sacred, Secular, Yearn
dx.doi.org/10.1558/imre.v15i4.477, hdl.handle.net/1765/40875
Implicit Religion
Erasmus School of Economics

Heelas, P. (2012). Theorizing the sacred: The role of the implicit in yearning "Away". In Implicit Religion (Vol. 15, pp. 477–521). doi:10.1558/imre.v15i4.477