Is Taylor's Secularity 3 a Relevant Concept for Muslim-Majority Societies? The Case of Non-Religion in Contemporary Turkey

Ates Altinordu, Sabanci University

The most important concept to come out of Taylor's A Secular Age for the study of secularities is Secularity 3, that is, conditions of belief marked by a radical plurality of religious/spiritual options. Given the centrality of unfettered pluralism to the concept—including ease of conversion between alternative faiths and open unbelief as a widely available option—its relevance to most present-day Muslim-majority societies appears marginal. Taylor himself certainly seems to think so. Based on an examination of atheism and deism in contemporary Turkey, I will argue that this concept can be productively used to study societies where state policies severely restrict religious/spiritual pluralism. Rather than focusing on the binary question of whether a society is 'Secular 3' or not, it is more productive to identify, explain, and compare particular constellations of extant and suppressed religious/spiritual pluralism in different settings.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 25. Comparative secularity: Concepts and Methods