A Phoney Holy War

Reflections on the Myth of Spiritual Revolution


  • William J. F. Keenan Independent Writer and Researcher




implicit religion, Ideology-critique, Postmodernity, Secular Myth, Spiritual Revolution, Subjectivization


This article provides an ideology-critique of the just-so story of “the spiritual turn,” aiming at the ahistorical and mythopoeic illusions of this contemporary fable as embedded in the fashionable nostrum, “the spiritual revolution.” This faux dramatic expression purports to describe a “turn” away from the external authority of “religion” in favour of self-chosen “spirituality” as the locus of faith commitment in the late modern world. Nine fundamental fallacies are identified with this contemporary secular myth. The “revolutionary” separation of “religiosity” and “spirituality” is untenable as scientific judgement. A more nuanced and constructive intellectual framework for engaging with the radical coinherence of the religious and the spiritual, I suggest, is “implicit religion.”    

Author Biography

William J. F. Keenan, Independent Writer and Researcher

Visiting Professor of Sociology of Religion and Culture, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool


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How to Cite

Keenan, W. J. F. (2016). A Phoney Holy War: Reflections on the Myth of Spiritual Revolution. Implicit Religion, 19(1), 131–198. https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.v19i1.30015