Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Myth of the Secular: Religion, War, and Politics in the 20th Century
The Myth of the Secular: Religion, War, and Politics in the 20th Century

The Myth of the Secular: Religion, War, and Politics in the 20th Century

  • October 10, 2019
  • Date / Time:
  • October 10, 2019
  • 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
  • Venue:
  • Museum of the American Revolution, Lenfest Myer Theater
  • 101 S. 3rd St
  • Philadelphia. PA. US. 19106

The apparently sudden resurgence of religious movements in world politics since the 1970s stunned scholars of international relations who had clung to that myth that the secularization of politics and diplomacy began when the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 abruptly ended Europe’s “Wars of Religion.”  In this 23rd Annual Templeton Lecture on Religion and World Affairs, Walter McDougall challenges that myopia, arguing that even (or especially) in the 20th and 21st centuries religion remains a principal driver of politics in European Civilization and the current “Clash of Civilizations.

The Ginsburg-Satell Chair of FPRI’s Center for Study of America and the West, Walter A. McDougall is the author of several critically acclaimed books including: The Tragedy of U.S Foreign Policy (2016), Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History 1585-1828 (2005), Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era, 1829-1877 (2008), and Promised Land, Crusader State (1997). He won a Pultizer Prize for his book The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He is the founding co-chairman of FPRI’s Butcher History Institute for Teachers.

For access to previous Templeton lectures, click here
For access to McDougall’s recent Ginsburg-Lecture, click here. 


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For more information, contact Jessica Taylor at or at 215-732-3774 ext. 200