Political  Science  135   Dr.

 Barbeau   Eli  Cannell   “Religion  is  Not  a  Preference”  summary     The  resurgence  of  religion  in  the  past  thirty  years  was  paralleled  by  an  attempt  from   academics  to  categorize  the  religious  experience  using  the  rubric  of  choice,   preference,  value  and  identity.    This  is  insufficient  to  explain  the  phenomenon  and   leads  to  misunderstandings  about  the  nature  of  religion  and,  therefore,  we  need  to   establish  a  better  definition.     The  Religious  Experience     The  Christian  experience  is  characterized  by  one  of  two  postures,  prostration   (humility)  and  a  gaze  upward  (exaltation).    The  secular  perspective  is  upright  and   looks  on  horizontally  and  is  self-­‐satisfied.    While  in  the  two  religious  postures,   humans  allow  themselves  to  be  “moved”.    The  secular  is  unmoved  and  is   preoccupied  by  the  selection  and  consumption  of  worldly  things.     The  “Fable  of  Liberalism”  and  the  Problem  of  Ecstasis     The  ideas  of  “preference”  and  “choice”  are  a  product  of  the  17th  century  England.     When  someone  chooses,  they  are  the  center  of  the  world  and  remained  unchanged.     The  religious  experience  (like  war)  is  the  renunciation  of  choice  and  is   incomprehensible  in  terms  of  preference  and  choice.     The  Continental  Configuration:  Value  and  Identity     Valuing  something  is  deeper  than  preferring  it.    Valuing  means  the  thing  is  part  of   your  identity,  it  is  not  merely  a  choice  among  many.    The  religious  experience  is   more  easily  understood  from  this  perspective,  but  a  true  religion  is  still  beyond  this   identity  of  value.     The  Contemporary  Impasse     Religion  needs  to  be  understood  on  its  own  terms.    A  “movement  of  the  soul,”  which   manifests  itself  in  action,  is  a  qualitatively  different  monster  and  this  is  why  modern   social  and  political  scientists  have  been  unable  to  comprehend  the  “depth”  of  the   change.