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The Secular CitySecularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective$
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Harvey Cox

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158853

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158853.001.0001

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The Style of the Secular City

The Style of the Secular City

Chapter:
(p.72) Chapter 3 The Style of the Secular City
Source:
The Secular City
Author(s):

Harvey Cox

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691158853.003.0004

This chapter focuses on the style of the secular city, which springs in part from the societal shape provided by the anonymity and mobility discussed in the previous chapter. Two motifs in particular characterize the style of the secular city: pragmatism and profanity. Pragmatism refers to secular man's concern with the question “Will it work?” The secular man views the world not as a unified metaphysical system but as a series of problems and projects. Meanwhile, profanity refers to secular man's wholly terrestrial horizon, the disappearance of any supramundane reality defining his life. The secular man views the world not in terms of some other world but in terms of itself. Pragmatism and profanity, like anonymity and mobility, are not obstacles but avenues of access to the modern man. Pragmatism and profanity enable the urban man to discern certain elements of the Gospel which were hidden from more religious forebears.

Keywords:   secular city, societal shape, pragmatism, profanity, supramundane reality, modern man, urban man, Gospel

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