Religion and the Sacred, the Sacred and religion. Two words that seemingly go together like hand in glove but just how accurate is that? When we talk about religion it’s very hard not to talk about the Sacred but when we talk about the Sacred does this mean we have to talk about religion? What does the Sacred even mean? This introduction began with “Sacred” but it may well be more appropriate to write “sacred”.

Listen Now

This episode has not been transcribed yet. 

Consider a donation to pay for the cost of editing a transcript?

About this episode

Religion and the Sacred, the Sacred and religion. Two words that seemingly go together like hand in glove but just how accurate is that? When we talk about religion it’s very hard not to talk about the Sacred but when we talk about the Sacred does this mean we have to talk about religion? What does the Sacred even mean? This introduction began with “Sacred” but it may well be more appropriate to write “sacred”. Whether capitalised or not, the sacred is a predominant topic in many forms of discourse and not all these are necessarily religious in nature.

This week we discuss the sacred and all its connotations with Gordon Lynch. The sacred is not, it seems, just a religion-only category and many aspects of modern secular societies are pervaded with such a notion. But if the sacred isn’t a religion only category where does that leave religion? Should there be departments of Religious Studies at all, or should we be replacing them with Sacred Studies? We discuss the potentially far reaching implications that a shift in focus from Religion to the Sacred can have on academia.

You can also download this interview, and subscribe to our weekly podcast, on Secular Sacreds and the Sacred Secular.

Gordon Lynch is the Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology at the University of Kent where he teaches on the sacred in modern Western Society. Professor Lynch has published a number of works including an edited volume with Jolyon Mitchell and has recently published two books on the sacred, The Sacred in the Modern World and On the Sacred. If you’d like to know more about Professor Lynch’s work on the sacred you can find out more information on his blog as well as access some of his own learning resources.

 

 Fund the RSP while you shop! Use an Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, or Amazon.com affiliate link whenever you make a purchase. There’s no additional cost to you, but every bit helps us stay on the air! 

We need your support!

Want to support us directly? Become a monthly Patron or consider giving us a one-time donation through PayPal

Related Resources

Halloween Special: Religion’s Role in Terror Management Theory

Response

When confronted with mortality, humans face the possibility of experiencing a significant amount of terror. Interestingly, many times, people are able to avoid this terror and actually enjoy the mortality themes that are presented. Consider the horror movie industry. To illustrate, Paranormal Activity (Blum & Peli, 2007) brought in $19,617,650 on its opening weekend alone (IMDB, n.d.). Further, ...
Not Just Any Body Will Do!

Response

White’s research, in conjunction with my own and others’, calls into question a theoretical assumption held by many CSR scholars that the body plays a negligible role in beliefs about supernatural agents. Dr. Claire White’s research addresses the religious topic of reincarnation that, although perhaps more adhered to by human cultures across time and space than the belief that we have only one earthly life followed by eternal reward or punishment, has received little serious scientific investigation—especially from the question through which Dr. White addresses it.
Presidentialism, or “Who’s Your Daddy?” | Discourse! October 2020

Podcast

In this October 2020 episode of Discourse!, Andie Alexander, Hina Muneeruddin, and Leslie Dorrough Smith explore ideas of infantile citizens, political debates as spectacle, rhetoric as bumper bowling, fist-fighting viruses, and fake news in the discourses surrounding the US Presidential election.

Responses to this episode

Secular Sacreds and the Sacred Secular

"Reframing understandings of (non)religion according to types of sacred which are independent of religious categories, allows (non)religious identities to be conceptualised to acknowledge the simultaneous intersection of multiple subjectively compatible (yet seemingly contradictory) religious and/or nonreligious identities, and paves the way for scholars to take religion seriously whilst avoiding unwarranted reverence."

Other EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY

Discourse, Australia Edition

Podcast

Breann Fallon, Carole Cusack and Ray Radford approach the Australian news from a Religious Studies perspective. We cover the appeal of Cardinal George Pell, the drama around Israel Folau, and the impact of Christianity on the recent Australian federal election results.
The BASR and the Impact of Religious Studies

Podcast

A panel on the public impact and engagement of Religious Studies/Study of Religion/s led by committee members of the British Association for the Study of Religions, including Dr Stephen Gregg (Wolverhampton), Dr Christopher Cotter (Edinburgh), Dr Suzanne Owen (Leeds Trinity), Dr David Robertson (The Open University) and Dr Steven Sutcliffe (Edinburgh). Issues discussed include why RS continues to be a "muted voice" ...
Studying “Non-Ordinary Realities”: A Roundtable Discussion

Podcast

Bettina Schmidt and David Wilson organised a series of panels at the 2014 BASR Conference in Milton Keynes on the topic of "Studying Non-Ordinary Realities", as part of the conference's "Cutting Edge" sub-theme. We managed to make time to get Bettina and David,...
Digital Religion

Podcast

The digital realm is a dark continent in which the standard practices of methodology and theory find themselves tested by a whole new landscape. To introduce us to the vast array of topics Tim Hutchings provides us with an introductory discussion into the world of digital religion. We discuss the ways in which religion is finding itself in the digital realm and how this new format of expression differs from its real world iterations.
Material Religion Roundtable

Podcast

What exactly does Material Religion bring to Religious Studies? Is it a potentially revolutionary phenomenon, or merely a passing fad? How might one apply the theoretical perspectives and methodologies developed in this growing field to some of the defining debates of our subject area? To discuss these issues, and reflect on the conference in general,...
Reflections on “Thinking with Jonathan Z. Smith”

Podcast

Aaron Hughes, the keynote speaker for the #JZSatNTNU Conference in Trondheim, Norway, talks with the RSP about the legacy of Jonathan Z. Smith's work for the field of religious studies.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The views expressed in podcasts, features and responses are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Religious Studies Project or our sponsors. The Religious Studies Project is produced by the Religious Studies Project Association (SCIO), a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (charity number SC047750).