- The Oxford Handbook of Secularism
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: The Study of Secularism
- Identifying (with) the Secular: Description and Genealogy
- Religious/Nonreligious Demography and Religion versus Science: A Global Perspective
- Secularization and Its Consequences
- The Imagined War between Secularism and Religion
- Political Secularism
- Political Secularism and Democracy in Theory and Practice
- Anglo-American Secular Government
- Secularism in France
- Secularism in Turkey
- Secularization in Israel
- Secularism, State Neutrality, and Islam
- Secular Government in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Secularism in India
- Soviet Atheism and Its Aftermath
- Sacred, Secular, and Neosacred Governments in China and Taiwan
- Religion in the Public Sphere
- The Liberal Betrayal of Secularism
- Religious Freedom in a Secular Society
- Communicative Reason and Religious Faith in Secular and Postsecular Contexts
- Secularisms or Liberal-Democratic Constitutionalism?
- Multiculturalizing Secularism
- Beyond Comparing Secularisms: A Critique of Religio-Secularism
- A Secular Critique of Religious Ethics and Politics
- Secular Education and Religion
- Secularism, Feminism, and the Public Sphere
- Secularism, Race, and Political Affiliation in America
- Black Infidels: Secular Humanism, Atheism, and African American Social Thought
- Secularism and US Religion Jurisprudence
- Separating Church and State in America
- Varieties of Secular Experience
- Secular Living: Many Paths, Many Meanings
- Secular Prosociality and Well-Being
- Secularism and the Science of Well-Being
- Secular Spirituality
- Nonreligious People in Religious Societies
- The Challenge of Leaving Religion and Becoming Secular
- Agency and Responsibility in a Natural World
- The Evolution of Sociality, Helping, and Morality
- Ethics, Secular and Religious: An Evolved-Cognitive Analysis
- Secular Ethics, East and West
- Secularism, Humanism, and Secular Humanism: Terms and Institutions
- Humanism as a Positive Outcome of Secularism
- Secularization, Biomedical Technology, and Life Extension
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter draws from emerging research areas in positive psychology, the study of well-being, to consider evidence-based recommendations helping to fill some of the psychological and existential gaps in secular society. It discusses the development of positive psychology and its shift toward a meaning-oriented conception of human well-being, as well as scientific findings about meaning and its role in a flourishing life. Further, it argues for the importance of the humanities, alongside the methods of science, in exploring subjective and personal aspects of meaning. The chapter also discusses the study of self-transcendent experiences and how they can provide profound joy and meaning while influencing the relationship between the self and the world at large.
David Yaden is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He works in the Positive Psychology Center, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and he participates in research on the psychology and neuroscience of self-transcendent experiences. He also serves as a Humanist Chaplain at Rutgers University.
Jonathan Iwry is a research assistant in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Besides his academic research, he is an online contributor to About.com on public policy topics, and he writes a weekly column for The Daily Pennsylvanian on topics at the intersection of religion, politics, and public thought in American life.
Emily Esfahani Smith holds a master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Washington, DC., where she writes about culture, relationships, and psychology for The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and other publications. She is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters.
James O. Pawelski, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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