In the introduction to their book, New Age Spirituality: Rethinking Religion, Drs. Steven Sutcliffe, Professor of Religion Studies at University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, and Ingvild Saelid Gilhus, Professor of Cultural Studies and Religion at University of Bergen Norway, describe how religion and, in particular, new spiritualities are integrated and widely distributed across global society. They argue that rather than treating new age as exotic and on the margins of “proper” religion, New Age Spirituality examines the new spirituality as a form of everyday “lived” religion.
The new spirituality is “lived” religion and is mixed into our global, capitalist society.
In contrast, even opposition, to the the ideal of pure religion are new age spiritualities, which are a mixed composite of ideas and “lived” practices relating to:
- reading and entertainment.
New Age spiritualities encapsulate modern “religion” but they get mixed and camouflaged with social and individual processes of:
- individualization (personalization),
- secularization (nonreligion),
- sacralization (making things sacred),
- mediatization (media shaping society).
The institutionalized model is our traditional concept of religion. Contemporary institutions are forced to compete in a global marketplace of ideas and products. Sutcliffe and Gilhus claim that the modern concept of “religion” depends on coexistence, even co-creation, with the worldly or secular. Traditional religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, are usually seen as opposing the secular, and are idealized as more pure, authentic since they are not mixed-up with “worldly” things .
The inherently mixed amalgamation makes it difficult to see new age spiritualities as religious and makes it disagreeable to modern scientific taste or scrutiny. The new spiritualities are hard to distinguish as either wholly religious or secular. They are a mix of both, as noted in the bulleted lists above. This fluid amalgamation makes new spiritualities challenging to understand if we compare them only with traditional models of religion.
The new spirituality is “lived” religion and gets mixed into secular practices, into the media, and is everywhere in our global, capitalist society.
See my index of my posts inspired by the book, New Age Spirituality: Rethinking Religion.
See also my posts on:
Mediatization/Secularization of Religion:
The Mindful Revolution Or Mindless Meditation?
New American Spirituality? Why Yoga Can’t Save Us From Ourselves
- New Age Spirituality: Rethinking Religion. Steven Sutcliffe and Ingvild Gilhus. Acumen: UK. 2013. Print. p2. Introducion: “All Mixed Up”– Thinking About Religion In Relation To New Age Spiritualities.
- ibid p 1-13