Public Religion in a Privatized Society

Event Details

Ray Pennings will give the annual Hill lecture for the Association of Reformed Political Action, Ottawa: Public Religion in a Privatized Society.


Since the sixties, policy makers and academics have worked from the premise that the world was becoming increasingly secularized. This meant that religion was viewed as private, religion’s institutions were understood as having a limited and marginal role and public discussion was slowly stripped of explicit references to faith and God. We were wrong. Since September 11 we have been painfully reminded that the beliefs of our neighbour do impact us, sometimes with devastating consequences. But furthermore, religion is clearly more than just a security or policy nuisance. New data emerging from all over the global north contends that religion’s influence disproportionately accounts for giving, volunteering and belonging. The global resurgence of religion is clearly a mix of good and bad: radical elements capitalize on fear and bigotry while others continue to sustain many of the most important institutions we take for granted. What does this resurgence mean for our vision for Canadian social architecture and how do we create the language anrs d capacity to publicly converse on this complex yet critical feature of 21st century politics and culture?


This event happened on

  • May 4, 2010