“Beyond belief - Why has religion become the ‘dynamite of the people’”

“Beyond belief - Why has religion become the ‘dynamite of the people’” application/pdf icon

In edited by Justin Beaumont Routledge Handbook of Postsecularity) pp.27-37 Routledge International Handbooks, London, 2018. (Publication of the keynote "On the Forms of Knowledge Proper to Religious Beings" for the 400th anniversary of Groningen University, EASR meeting, 12th May 2014)


Religion which was the “opium of the people” has become of late the “dynamite of the people”. To ward off religious wars, it is important to revisit the idea of secularization and by implication postsecularity. This chapter makes an attempt by first criticizing the pretention of social science that a social explanation of religion is possible; I proceed to show how the notion of belief in belief renders inauthentic the articulation of religion; and, finally, I claim that belief in belief contaminates politics as well. I offer a definition of agnosticism as the refusal to use belief as an analytical category and to explore instead the plurality of modes of existence as an alternative to violence.