2021_14_3_8 - XLinguae

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Open access Issues > Issue n_3_2021 > section n_3_2021
Religionis et societatis, the archaic gaze of reason

[Religionis et societatis, la mirada arcaica de la razon]

Humberto Ortega-Villasenor

DOI: 10.18355/XL.2021.14.03.08

In these times of generalized neoliberalism that we are living, as totalitarian gazes are falling, it seems relevant to discuss the social role of religion from the critical-social perspective of modernity and especially, from the humanism of the future. Of course, I will drastically limit the scope this analysis being the topic so broad and complex. Thus, with rigorous humility, I will look at only one basic aspect of Max Weber’s religious thought, framing it and contrasting it with the critical vision of the Mesoamerican tradition. Max Weber argued that all religions form part of a historical-universal process whose evolution can be explained as driven by an inner logic constructed by the relentless urge toward the rationalization of ideas and life, especially in the case of salvation religions. This line of thought, with its universalist pretensions, leads us to question the validity of deterministic schemata that should be limited to the Western world and to European concerns -given their reductionism not only when compared to religious visions such as Kierkegaard’s with respect to Christianity (for him rationalism was not enough)- but also inasmuch as they leave out polytheistic projects and syncretic combinations such as the traditional conceptions of colonized peoples (where religions are monotheistic in name only, not having followed the steps of the Weberian protocol), or the ancient civilizational horizons such as China, India or Mesoamerica, whose evolution does not necessarily lead to the sort of final-stage rationality the German thinker had in mind.

Key words: religion, rationalization, determinism, Eurocentrism, nominal monotheism

Pages: 75-86

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