Theology Blindspot

...the struggle between secular critique and religious sentiments—the very same conflict we had in the Danish cartoon crisis and other freedom of speech versus moral harm-cases (see Saba Mahmood’s ‘Is critique secular?’)—is only on one level a struggle between secular and religious worldviews; on a second level, it is a conflict among religious actors. The same is true for all other possible secular-religious conflict situations. My thrust is that it is really this second level that is the most instructive in terms of empirical insights for further theory-building. In order to get access to this second level, however, social sciences have to overcome the theology blind spot and have to open up to the empirical study of theological debates. In the remainder of this post I quickly want to outline what this opening-up could look like in the three approaches to the study of religion identified by Cécile Laborde in her post: Where is theology in the critical, upholding, and disaggregating perspectives?

Kristina Stoeckl, "The Theology Blindspot" The Immanent Frame http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/?p=40240

Stoeckl provides an interesting summary of the problem of looking at religion and secularity without care and attention for theological discourse. It's a mistake rightly pointed out by this author in much of the literature, and one we are also trying to redress with Newcastle's Religion in Political Life in Australia volume forthcoming in 2015.

Crucially, however, it should be noted that this is an evidence based, empirical and forensic interest in theology with the sole purpose of understanding religious thought and action.

timothywstanley@me.com