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The Modern Spirit of AsiaThe Spiritual and the Secular in China and India$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128146

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128146.001.0001

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“Smash Temples, Build Schools”: Comparing Secularism in India and China

“Smash Temples, Build Schools”: Comparing Secularism in India and China

(p.140) Chapter 6 “Smash Temples, Build Schools”: Comparing Secularism in India and China
The Modern Spirit of Asia

Peter van der Veer

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses secularism as a political project with its own utopian elements. Secularism refers to the growing importance of scientific knowledge that is not constrained by religious authority. Religion is sometimes taken to be an obstacle for scientific progress and secularism demands its removal for the benefit of societal development that is guided by scientific discovery and technological innovation. Secularization was seen by sociologists as an intrinsic and inescapable part of the modernization of Western society, with the assumption that this was something all societies had to go through. An alternative to post-Weberian arguments in sociology about religion and secularity is offered by theories that emphasize individual, rational choice in religious markets.

Keywords:   secularism, secularization, scientific knowledge, religious authority, technological innovation, sociology, religion, Western society

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