chapter  5
22 Pages

The New and the Old in Religion

WithThomas Luckmann

Religion, stubbornly refusing to disappear as a moving force in the conduct of human affairs, continued to pose a seemingly intractable problem for modern social theory. As their successors in the first half of the nineteenth century learned to view religion as a complex, although deficient, social phenomenon rather than as a simple pathology of thought and emotion, some of them invested considerable effort in searching for a rational and scientific substitute. Compared to the attitudes toward religion set by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, the post-Hegelian critique of religion may be said to have had a better—and an astonishingly "modern"—grasp of the universal human basis of religion. In most archaic and many traditional societies, only one social form of religion either existed or was dominant to the near exclusion of others. In most archaic and many traditional societies, only one social form of religion either existed or was dominant to the near exclusion of others.