Few have better traced the roots of our contemporary loss of faith than Charles Taylor in his massive work, A Secular Age for Spiritual Exercises. The Canadian philosopher sees the process beginning with the Reformation, which with its emphasis on personal faith and its discomfort with sacraments, priesthood and the sacred, abolished the enchanted medieval cosmos, leading in time to the creation of a humanist alternative faith.
In their emphasis on “faith alone” and “Scripture alone,” the Reformers contributed to the separation of faith from reason, which modernity would carry through much more radically. The Enlightenment hastened this process, replacing Revelation with an autonomous reason, while the scientific revolution would make the scientific method the exclusive avenue to truth.
What followed from these religious and cultural changes was an increasingly secular modernity, which influences the way we live spirituality today and, in particular, the practice of the Spiritual Exercises.