February 17, 2023
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v2.1 Reference

Grace and Freedom in a Secular Age

Contingency, Vulnerability, and Hospitality

In the course of a long and distinguished academic and civic career, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has been, for articulate atheists and learned believers alike, an incisive, insightful, gracious, and challenging conversation partner on issues that arise at the intersection and interaction of religion, society, and culture.

Grace and Freedom in a Secular Age offers a concise exposition of key ideas – contingency, otherness, freedom, vulnerability and mutuality – that inform his probing analyses of the dynamics of religious belief and religious denial in the pervasive contemporary culture he calls a "a secular age," within which religious belief and practice have, for many, become just an option. Those ideas provide the basis from which Rossi argues that, despite a clear-eyed recognition of the deep fractures of meaning and the pervasive fragmentation of once stable societal connections that a secular age has brought in its wake, Taylor also sees and affirms strong grounds for hope in a healing of our broken and fractured world and for the possibilities—and the importance of—active human participation in that healing. Taylor points to signs indicative of potent re-compositions and renewals taking place in religious belief and practice from its interaction with the dynamics of secular culture, particularly ones that make possible radical enactments of deeper human solidarity and mutuality, of which the one most often potent is the reconciliation of enemies. In pointing out these signs, Taylor suggests a richly expansive reading of the Christian doctrine of Creation, as it marks the radical contingency of all that is upon a freely bestowed divine self-giving: Creation is the ongoing enactment of the divine hospitality of the Triune God.

About the Author

Philip J. Rossi, SJ, is Emeritus Professor of Theology, Marquette University.


"Significant because of the way in which it gives truly serious consideration to the need for theology to engage with the reality and thought of the world it addresses."—Bruce K. Ward, Thorneloe University at Laurentian University

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February 17, 2023
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Kant's Philosophy of Religion Reconsidered

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