In this chapter the debates of protagonists of the redefinition of the public sphere, Jürgen Habermas, as well as the new role of religion are introduced and analysed as in the work of Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, Wendy Brown, Charles Taylor, Cornell West and Judith Butler.
The new role of religion in the public sphere is analysed for example in the assault in Oslo, 9/11/2001 as well as in the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement. The usefulness of post-secular approaches is elaborated to understand better the discursive character of religion.
Economic, sovereign and epistemic violence are critiqued together. We face a commodification of the whole life. Neoliberal, sovereign biopolitics thus not only generates a hierarchical, heteronormative gender order but threatens all people’s lives.
However, engaged sections of the population confront hegemonic (Christian) theologies with allegations of material and symbolic support for neo-colonialism, neoliberalism, nationalism, racism, sexism and homophobia, which is reason enough for them to call themselves “rational” and “enlightened” and negate religious practices.
It is shown that not only fundamentalist, dominant religious and apparently secular discourses of the present emanate from an essentialised concept of religion. Besides, it is criticised that, both in a secular context, numerous gender, intersectional, queer and post-secular approaches as well as in the resistant theological environment some liberation theological and feminist theological concepts wrongly assume a universalised, essentialised category of religion.
Religious knowledge could be productive for critical epistemologies because it overcomes the dichotomy of “Western” and “non-Western” knowledge. Religious assemblages (knowledge, practices, movements, networking) also neglect the dichotomy between “scientific” and “experiential knowledge”, “activist”, or “rational” and “body knowledge”. Finally, it is argued that a disidentified concept of religion enables a “trans-religious overlap” between religious and secular modes. The focus is shifted from “identities” to shared social imaginary as shown for example in the Occupy Wall Street movement.