For a long time the mantra of the “abolition of religion” (to borrow from the title of Richard Schröder’s provocative essay) has resounded insistently in the West. Philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, scientists and writers have competed to predict its end.
The most famous change that characterizes this line of thought is the withdrawal of those of religious commitment and the progressive diminishing of the sacred dimension in the affairs of the world. The underlying assumption of such a reading is a positivist view of history (Auguste Comte), understood in a linear and progressive way.
Humanity over the centuries, it asserts, has passed from a primitive and superstitious approach to the world (magic, mythology, religion) to full rational maturity (the “positive” age), characterized by real, useful, certain, precise and constructive knowledge, proper to the scientific mentality. Such a view hails the advancement of science and the consequent irreversible retreat of “primitive” knowledge.