Peter Berger's "heretical imperative.

Peter Berger
Religion and Theology
Pages 4 (1004 words)
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Peter Berger’s “Heretical Imperative” Name: Institution: Course: Tutor: Date: Introduction Peter Berger is renowned sociologist who contributed greatly to the study of sociology of knowledge, religion and modernisation. Berger presents the impact of modernity on religion.


According to Berger, pluralism presents the crisis into which modernity has exposed religion (Woodhead Heelas & Martin, 2001). Berger focuses on modernity and its implications on religion. The contemporary society is characterized by plurality of institutions, consciousness and choices, which yield uncertainty. According to Berger, pluralism is “a situation in which there is competition in the institutional ordering of comprehensive meanings of everyday life” (Oldmeadow, 2010, p.33). Because of uncertainty, there are unsteady, inconsistent and erratic plausibility structures, particularly those of religion. Berger argues that religion becomes a matter of choice, which he best refers to as a “heretical imperative” (heresy). According to Peter Berger, there are three contemporary responses to the crisis that modernity thrusts religion into, which include deduction, reduction as well as induction. Berger denounces deduction, which entails the reaffirmation of influence of a sacred ritual against secular authority (Esposito, Fasching & Lewis, 2011). He also rejects reductionism, which reinterprets a sacred ritual on the basis of secular authority. In rejecting the two responses, Berger supports the third approach, which is induction. ...
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