[This book summary is going para by para through A Secular Age. It is a work in progress, DV, to be finished by the end of 2017]
Section 1: Ways of studying secularism, and this book’s focus on “conditions of belief.”
Section 2: What are “conditions of belief?” How do they change the way we understand secularism?
Section 3: What is religion? Broadly, it is belief in the transcendent. Secularism is life without the need for transcendence.
Section 4: Final thoughts on the intro and a look ahead to chapter 1
Part 1: The Work of Reform
Chapter 1, “Bulwarks of Belief”
Section 1: Reason for belief in 1500 is outlined, subtraction stories are questioned, and the conditions needed for alternative beliefs are set.
Section 2: The process of secularization needs to be told as a story in order to be understood rightly.
Section 3: Part of the creation of conditions for unbelief was a change in the perception of the self, and the move from a porous view of reality to a buffered view of reality.
Section 4: In 1500, the self was communally-oriented in a way that the modern buffered self is not. Community needed individuals, individuals needed community for safety and flourishing.