Diving into “Nineteenth-Century British Secularism: Science, Religion and Literature”

Buzzkillers, once again we were fortunate enough in this episode to speak to a genuine scholar and expert on British secularism in the 19th century, Professor Michael Rectenwald from New York University. We went to interview him, so download and listen in for his fascinating interview.

Essentially, there’s been a myth about secularism for as long as it has been a philosophy. The myth is that it is the opposite of religion and that it seeks the eradication of religion. Historically, this is not true. Secularism was developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a movement to supersede atheism, not eliminate religion or religious practices. It was a movement of pluralists who wanted in include religious believers and non-believers, theists and non-theists in a modern society

Secularism and secularization movements sought to create a pluralist society of co-existence of the religious and the non-religious. As such, secularism and the process of secularization are important elements in the modernization of British and European societies.


Thomas Carlyle, pictured here, is the author of “Sartor Resartus,” which was mentioned in the podcast for this blog. Photo courtesy of wikiquotes.org.