Sacred Modernities: Rethinking Modernity in a Post-Secular Age
18 September 2009
Dominic Corrywright (Oxford Brookes University)
Spiritual Practice in Secular Contexts: Well-Being and Healing in a Re-Enchanted World
The distinction between religion and science in modern societies has increasingly diminished the authority of religious understandings of the world and reified scientific depictions of the world. No area has exemplified this segregation of worldview more strongly than medicine and the related cognates, healing and health. Yet, historically, religions have been significant influences in models of health and healing. The contemporary interest in traditional religious/spiritual healing methods and modern medical systems, defined under the rubric “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM) indicates a resurgence of religious perspectives in the concepts of well being and the maintenance of health.
This paper is offered in three sections. Firstly, a theoretical mapping of the relationship between modern alternative religious and spiritual traditions, and alternative health. Secondly, an examination of the physical and geographical contexts of religious practices of well-being and health which includes a typological analysis of alternative religious centres as venues for developing well-being and health. Thirdly the paper will provide a case study relating place and practice in the contemporary teaching of Acupuncture in the UK. The case study will disclose one of the growing number of healing practices that link religion and models of well-being and health in a re-enchanted modern world.
Dr Dominic Corrywright is Principal Lecturer in Religious Studies at Oxford Brookes University. His key research interests and publications are related to contemporary spirituality, Alternative and New Age spiritualities and New Religious Movements, Healing and Religion. Other research foci include theory and methodology in the study of religions.