Secular but not Superficial: An Overlooked Nonreligious/Nonspiritual Identity

Dissertation, University of Louisville (2016)

Authors
Daniel G. Delaney
University of Louisville
Abstract
Since Durkheim’s characterization of the sacred and profane as “antagonistic rivals,” the strict dichotomy has been framed in such a way that “being religious” evokes images of a life filled with profound meaning and value, while “being secular” evokes images of a meaningless, self-centered, superficial life, often characterized by materialistic consumerism and the cold, heartless environment of corporate greed. Consequently, to identify as “neither religious nor spiritual” runs the risk of being stigmatized as superficial, untrustworthy, and immoral. Conflicts and confusions encountered in the process of negotiating a nonreligious/nonspiritual identity, caused by the ambiguous nature of religious language, were explored through qualitative interviews with 14 ex-ministers and 1 atheist minister—individuals for whom supernaturalist religion had formed the central core of identity, but who have deconverted and no longer hold supernatural beliefs. The cognitive linguistics approach of Frame Semantics was applied to the process of “oppositional identity work” to examine why certain identity labels are avoided or embraced due to considerations of the cognitive frames evoked by those labels. Through the constant comparative method of grounded theory, a host of useful theoretical concepts emerged from the data. Several impediments to the construction of a “secular but not superficial” identity were identified, and a framework of new theoretical concepts developed to make sense of them: sense disparity, frame disparity, identity misfire, foiled identity, sense conflation, and conflated frames. Several consequences arising from these impediments were explored: (1) consequences of sense conflation and conflated frames for the study of religion; (2) consequences of conflated frames for religious terminology; and (3) consequences of the negation of conflated frames for those who identify as not religious, not spiritual, or not Christian. Additionally, four types of oppositional identity work were identified and analyzed: (1) avoidance identity work, (2) dissonant identity work, (3) adaptive identity work, and (4) alternative identity work. Finally, the concept of conflated frames was applied to suggest a new interpretation of the classic Weberian disenchantment narrative.
Keywords secularism  atheism  spirituality  religious identity  nonreligion  cognitive frames  cognitive linguistics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Metaphors We Live By.George Lakoff & Mark Johnson - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 40 (2):208-210.
Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity.Charles Taylor - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1):187-190.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Identity, Personal Identity and the Self.John Perry - 2002 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Identity.Giselle Walker & Elisabeth Leedham-Green (eds.) - 2010 - Cambridge University Press.
Between Past and Future: Identity, Religion and Public Space.Vanna Gessa Kurotschka - 2011 - Iris. European Journal of Philosophy and Public Debate 3 (5):125-140.
Identity and Spirituality: Conventional and Transpersonal Perspectives.Douglas A. MacDonald - 2009 - International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 28 (1):86-106.
Is Identity Really so Fundamental?Décio Krause & Jonas R. Becker Arenhart - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (1):51-71.
Identity Processing Style and Defense Mechanisms.Andrew Kinney & Michael Berzonsky - 2008 - Polish Psychological Bulletin 39 (3):111-117.
The Ethics of Managing Corporate Identity.B. Gustavsson - 2005 - Journal of Human Values 11 (1):9-29.
A Sketch for a Ricoeurian Hermeneutics of Religious Identity.Jefferson Macariola Chua - 2013 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 12 (34):57-80.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-04-21

Total views
158 ( #45,791 of 2,253,657 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
67 ( #9,184 of 2,253,657 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature