Taylor argues from the perspective of Western Christendom that transformation has not been linear, but rather a series of "departures" in which earlier forms of religious life have been dissolved and new options have been adopted to make sense of living.
In the sixteenth century there were more issues that divided believers than the crucified Christ and the concern with death. There were a number of attempts to develop a more intense, inward, devotional life. This devotion encouraged private prayer, introspection and even keeping a journal.
The departure from universal teachings of a denomination to individual absorption of truth represented a major shift in infusing secure notions into man's belief system. Contributing factors included a more educated and reflective laity, influential ideas from philosophers, and the desire for a personal religious life.
Religion had been the answer to man's fear of death providing eternal reassurances and order in society. With the unique value God and religion placed on man, he now saw himself in a position to establish order and sanctify aspects of his life on his own.
Taylor sees secularism as multiple combinations of new options, some from religion but all from a deep, spiritual yearning to provide meaning to our lives.
eBook A Secular Age