A Secular Age is a neon sign spelling out the word “um” 5 times. The title is in reference to the philosophical tome of the same name by Charles Taylor.
In 2018, I received an opportunity to travel to China with the Nagel Institute. While there, I spent time studying contemporary Chinese art and religion. Each “um” refers to the 5 religions formally recognized by the Chinese government: Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Taoism, and Buddhism. I was interested in the irony of leveling each of these religions, and the complications that can arise when a secular institution sees them as equivalent.