This conference is the culmination of a seminar on non-religiousness that included nine sessions divided into three research areas: "philosophy, norms and values of non-religion"; "non-religiousness in various cultural and confessional contexts"; "religion, non-religion, secularisation: theoretical debates". It is intended to be an extension of the exchanges that have fuelled these sessions; it also aims to open up new reflections on the theme of non-religion.
The choice of the title "Régimes de croyance, régimes de vérité" (regimes of belief, regimes of truth) meets two requirements. The first is the desire not to restrict the analysis of the non-religious to a study by negation or absence. Whether we speak of agnosticism, atheism, indifference, irreligion or 'nones', the terms used to analyse this phenomenon is too often presented as the negative side of the religious (Quack, 2013). However, it seems necessary to show its positive components, which is made possible by using the terms 'belief' and 'truth'.
The second requirement is to better understand what distinguishes non-religious from religious. The reflections carried out during the seminar showed that the boundaries between these two universes of meaning are shifting, and that they share many characteristics: both can encompass norms, dogmas and rituals; they commonly refer to an axiological, symbolic and spiritual order; they unfold in the same societal "arenas"; the scientific questions they raise and from which they are approached frequently converge. Nevertheless, it appears that non-religion and religion differ from each other in their relationship to transcendence. While the former does not systematically mobilise transcendence, in the West it is a component of religion, which also sees it as a source of truth. It is to better underline this distinction that our conference has chosen the title "regimes of belief, regimes of truth". "Regimes of belief" encompass the new spiritualities as well as agnosticism, atheism and indifference. "Regimes of truth" refers exclusively to "traditional" religions.
How are regimes of belief and regimes of truth deployed and articulated in a post-secular world (Habermas, 2008)? Our modernity is characterised by an uncertainty that has become an ordinary regime, a decline in ideologies as well as an individualistic withdrawal and an acceleration of time, which reinforce the feeling that the world is slipping away from us. In this context marked by disenchantment, religion does not appear to be an obvious axiological resource, capable of responding to the existential questions of individuals. We can therefore observe a retreat from the sacred, and beliefs that have become subjective and de-institutionalised (Donegani, 2015): it is now possible to believe without belonging (Davie, 1994) or even to belong without believing (Hervieu-Léger, 1999), according to an increasingly individualised and personal experience of the spiritual (Hervieu-Léger, 2010). For all that, the religious has not disappeared, but is being maintained; the non-religious, for its part, tends to progress, without being able to be assimilated to an absence of spirituality. The porosity between these two universes of meaning is growing, in view of the axiological tinkering that individuals do: 'the believing subject claims to choose what suits him or her from different traditions and to freely combine these elements', Danièle Hervieu-Léger rightly reminds us (Hervieu-Léger, 2010).
Three axes could feed the reflections of this conference. The first would focus exclusively on regimes of belief, to explore their subjectivity. The second would concern the porosity of the boundaries between regimes of belief and regimes of truth. The third axis would focus on a sociology of the non-religious and its characteristics.
How to submit
- Proposals for papers should include a title and an abstract of 1000 to 1500 characters, not including spaces.
- They should be accompanied by a short biography of the speaker.
- They should be sent by 30 September 2022 at the latest to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The conference will mostly be French-speaking. Contributions in English, however, are also welcome.
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