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Religion & Civil Society: The Changing Faces of Religion & Secularity (Mary Ann Glendon & Rafael Alvira eds., Olms 2014).

Abstract: This work represents proceedings of a conference held at Harvard Law School. Religious and secular seem to be opposite concepts and realities. Nevertheless, while starting from religion, the concept of secular as non-religious is understandable, the converse is not true: starting from secular, we cannot arrive at the concept of religion. Since the concept of religion cannot be understood as that which is non-secular, there is an unavoidable superiority of the idea of religion over the idea of secularity. It is impossible to emphasise the primacy of secularity without denying the reality of religion or understanding it in a distorted manner. But in a world where religion is increasingly privatized and public spaces have been largely emptied of religious references, it also seems impossible to talk seriously about religion without dealing with the idea of secularity. The relation between religion and secularity is a question of the most decisive importance in general and in the present situation. Confronting this question in an open spirit is the principal goal of this book.