At the current moment the idea of the public/private split that we "enjoy" in the West is something I have been musing about especially as I get ready to teach World Civ. courses at Biola this Fall. The Enlightenment is a period I focus on for a number of reasons, but especially because I want my Christian students to really wrestle with what this period has meant for world history in general.
What I often find is a mixture of appreciation and distrust in the Enlightenment project from evangelical Christians. This period ushered in a form of naturalism that led intellectual society to distrust supernatural explanations and the idea of a personal God. However, the freedom of choice and worship is also something that supposedly came form this time as well. In a nutshell, the idea of choice is good but the idea of the secular is bad.
Moving away from the academy and to the world in general, people are still and always have been very religious. This goes for Southern hemisphere, but also Muslim countries as well (just the idea of a "Muslim" country betrays that idea). I am also suspicious that the freedom of worship and choice popped up all around the world at different times in countries with a religious basis before and after the Enlightenment.
What I also suspect is that when secularists denounce the wearing of head scarves because of freedom for women or things like a public display of crosses it is because it is infringing on the public sphere. In addition, I also suspect that if secularists really had the monopoly of things like they think they had, they would also try to enforce public law in the so-called private sphere as well. More on this later....
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