30 May

Alasdair MacIntyre on sacred and secular

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Ken Myers
Published: 05/30/14

The dangers of self-marginalizing religion

Alasdair MacIntyre

“When the sacred and the secular are divided, then religion becomes one more department of human life, one activity among others. . . . This has in fact happened to bourgeois religion. . . . Only a religion which is a way of living in every sphere either deserves to or can hope to survive. For the task of religion is to help see the secular as the sacred, the world as under God. When the sacred and the secular are separated, then ritual becomes an end not to the hallowing of the world, but in itself. Likewise if our religion is fundamentally irrelevant to our politics, then we are recognizing the political as a realm outside the reign of God. To divide the sacred from the secular is to recognize God’s action only within the narrowest of limits. A religion which recognizes such a division, as does our own, is one on the point of dying.”

—from Alasdair MacIntyre, Marxism: An Interpretation (London: SCM Press, 1953)

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