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Religion in Post-modern Society

Class at Hussite Theological Faculty |


The class is divided in the following topics:

1. Introduction. Some views on Post-Modern spirituality. Terminological discussion ("New Age", "spirituality" as (supposedly) opposed to "religion", "spiritualities of life", "holistic milieu", "cultic milieu", "perennialism" etc).

2. A historical introduction: The emergence of the New Age religion in the context of Western Esotericism.

3. A sociological introduction. Modernity and Post-Modernity, the 1960's and their impact on Western society.

4. Holism as the core of the Post-Modern spirituality. The "twin worlds" and "balance".

5. Holism in practice 1: the UFO phenomenon.

6. Holism in practice 2: the psychedelic movement and neo-shamanism.

7. Holism in practice 3: channeling.

8. Practical holism: exotic and archaic cultures, tourism as religious experience.

9. Back to larger context 1: Post-modern spirituality and science.

10. Back to larger context 2: Post-modern spirituality and media.

11. Back to larger context 3: Post-modern spirituality and popular culture.

12. Back to larger context 4: Post-modern spirituality and political activism.

13. Discussion. For details, see the class' online module at Moodle:


The students will get acquainted with core themes of Post-Modern alternative spirituality. The course starts with an introduction both from historical and sociological point of view and proceeds to analyze the relationship of the

Post-Modern spirituality to science and media. Largest part will be dedicated to understanding the underlying cosmological concepts of the New Age movement and their influence on Post-Modern alternative spirituality at large: we will explore the phenomenon of holism and its practical applications. Finally we will briefly touch the relationship between the clearly religious phenomena of the Post-Modernity and both popular culture and political utopia. Students will gain the ability to understand the New Age and pop-cultural spirituality and find its traces and influences in diverse phenomena, from openly religious/spiritual texts to movies, interviews, rhetoric of diverse pollitical activists etc. While the class aims to give a good introduction to the phenomena suitable for prospective scholars, journalists or writers, it also enables the student on a personal level to reflect and understand new alternative spirituality, which is increasingly omnipresent in the mainstream. This regardless to the personal convictions of the student - the class welcomes members of traditional religions, Atheists/Agnostics, New Age enthiusiasts and others alike. Open mind is the only requirement.