Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Omission in Tuesday’s Column: What About Ritual Life in Secular Civilization?

8/5/2021—Tuesday’s column in the Pennsylvania Capital-Star about Tahmima Anam’s novel, The Startup Wife, shared the novel’s joke about people without religious traditions needing an app to come up with rituals for important events in their lives. You can’t detach rituals from the worldview—story about the universe—that formed them. So the idea of an areligious use of religious rituals is silly and ultimately dangerous.

That is fine insofar as it goes. But I was just reading a story in the New York Review about Malcolm X’s ministry that reminds me that ritual life and rules for living are part of any rich and satisfying human flourishing—and where does come from in secular civilization?

In other words, an app for ritual is a joke. But what is the actual alternative?  

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