The main aim of this article is to discuss both the concept of secularism among the Ottoman intellectuals and the principle of secularism during the period of the Turkish Republic based on ideas rather than practice. We can analyze “secularism in Turkey” in two separate periods of time: First, “The Ottoman Empire and Secularism” which discusses the ideas of secularism before the foundation of the Turkish Republic, and second “A Brief Analysis of the Turkish Republic (...) and the Principle of Secularism” in which the idea of secularism related to the ideology of the state in the course of the Turkish Republic are shortly examined. In this article, we generally state the consistent development of secularism practiced in Turkey. (shrink)
The Pale God examines the relationship between secularism and religious tradition. It begins with a description of the secular options as expressed by Israeli intellectuals, and describes how these options have led to a dead end. A new option must be sought, and one of the key sources for this option is the works of Spinoza. The author explains that unlike Nietzsche, who discussed "the death of God," Spinoza tried to undermine the authority of religious virtuosos and establish the (...) image of a rational "Pale God." Such changes could channel religious tradition to the basic principles of secular political rule. The author demonstrates that the secular option is inherent in Israeli society, fits the type of secularism that Zionism instilled in the Jewish people, and complements the traditional trends deeply rooted in that society. (shrink)
This book uses the writings of Syed Alam Khundmiri to look at issues such as: Islamic traditionalism in the context of meodernization; Islamic theology and politics; and Western and Indian notions of secularism.
This article challenges Philip Kitcher’s recent proposals for an ‘enlightened secularism’. I use William James’s theory of the emotions and his related discussion of ‘temperaments’ to argue that religious and naturalistic commitments are grounded in tacit, inarticulate ways that one finds oneself in a world. This indicates that, in many cases, religiosity and naturalism are grounded not in rational and evidential considerations, but in a tacit and implicit sense of reality which is disclosed through phenomenological enquiry. Once the foundational (...) role of these temperaments is appreciated, it emerges that enlightened secularism relies upon a facile conception of the nature of religious belief – one that lessens its chances for success. The article ends with some positive proposals for incorporating phenomenological insights into debates about science, religion, and secularism. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher has recently proposed a form of ‘cosmopolitan secularism’ which he suggests could enable the members of a future secular society to continue to access and benefit from the moral and existential resources of the world’s religions. I criticise this proposal by appeal to contemporary work on the role of emotion and practice in religious commitment. Using the work of John Cottingham and Mark Wynn, two objections are offered to the cosmopolitan secularists’ claim that the moral resources of (...) a religion could be both preserved by and employed within a secular society whose members lack emotional commitment to and practical engagement with the religions in question. I conclude that, pace Kitcher, cosmopolitan secularism cannot fulfil its promise to preserve the moral resources of religion in the absence of genuine religious traditions and communities. (shrink)
Over recent years religious conservatives in the United States have fervently contested the idea of a liberal, secular public sphere. This article urges scholars to consider that contest in light of the history of the New Christian Right (NCR) of the late 1970s and 1980s. NCR activists, intellectuals, lawyers, and government officials advanced a critique of Rawlsian political liberalism, one charging that public institutions were not the bastions of neutrality supposed by American liberals. Contrary to the U.S. Constitution’s ban on (...) an establishment of religion, this critique alleged, cultural elites and judges had lifted the “religion” of secular humanism up to a preferred status while attempting to purge the public sphere of Christianity. Focusing on a pair of federal court cases from the 1980s, this article considers one of the NCR‘s most fascinating strategies––defining as a “religion” the very secularism meant to contain religion to private life. (shrink)
Is goodness without god good enough? A debate on faith, secularism, and ethics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9243-8 Authors Wes Morriston, University of Colorado, Boulder Department of Philosophy Boulder CO 80309-0232 USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
Although Almond argues that the contemporary West has lost touch with the value of tolerance, I argue that that value applied to those of different religions and sexual orientations is too minimal a standard for a pluralistic society. I suggest, in the spirit of the work of Charles Taylor and Tariq Modood, the more robust standard of respect and acceptance. In addition, I have criticised Almond?s privileging of parental values over school values, seeing in that privileging a failure to recognise (...) both the civic function of schooling in a pluralistic society and the professional responsibilities of teachers to provide a safe and stigma?free environment of learning (a goal both educational and civic in character). I argue that Almond?s briefly presented rejection of same?sex marriage and privileging of ?biological? families is insufficiently defended. Moreover within the philosophical framework of her own concerns about the weakening of a commitment to marriage in Western society in the past several decades, I argue that she should be more supportive of same?sex marriage. Finally, I argue that her account of the problems occasioned by new immigrant groups, especially Muslims, in the West is very sketchy and fails to connect with her critique of secularism. (shrink)
This article is intended to advance conceptual clarity on the topic of secularism in Muslim societies. It seeks to uncover unique historical developments that have influenced and shaped debate on this topic. In the first part, a distinction is made between the different social scientific categories of secularism, focusing on the philosophical, sociological and political dimensions of secularism. The second section provides a broad overview of the different histories of political secularism, and focuses on the two (...) dominant models that have been bequeathed to us from the Western tradition of political thought: Anglo-American secularism and French secularism ( laïcité ). In the final section, the political history of Muslim societies is briefly explored with the goal of providing a tentative answer to the question: historically, why did political secularism not emerge in Muslim societies? (shrink)
Extension of the system that includes the key substrates for sensation, perception, emotion, volition, and cognition, and all representational sources for cognition, supports the view that there is an extended mind and an extended body. These intellectual views can be made practical in a humanist system based on extensions and in religious systems based on extensions. Independently, there is also an institutional extension of secularism. Hence, I maintain, there are five principal forms of extension.
This article deals with the impact of the free, democratic and peaceful accession to power of the Islamic Justice and Development Party (JDP) in Turkey on the Arab world in general and on the Islamic currents active in Arab societies in particular. A main point is looking into how Arab political formations and especially political Islam are trying to make sense out of such recent developments in Turkey as: (1) the fact that traditionally reviled Turkish secularism, Kemalism and westernism (...) could produce a democratic form of political Islam capable of winning free elections and ruling Turkey without a catastrophe befalling the whole polity; and (2) the fact that an Islamic JDP is the most eager proponent of Turkey’s membership in the secular EU, while the traditional staunch military guardian of Turkish secularism is now the main obstructor of the drive for EU membership. (shrink)
David Pugmire has argued that secularists can genuinely appreciate religious music because of our imaginative powers combined with the 'Platonic' nature of the emotions expressed in such music. I argue that Pugmire is wrong on both counts. Religious music is 'Platonic' not because it is subject to levels of imagination but because it has a definite object which makes imaginative readings inferior. Moreover, since religious music does have a clear object taken by the believer as real, a gap exists that (...) cannot be bridged by the imagination of the secularist, even imagination of the emotional 'last instance'. (shrink)
This article analyses how recent critiques of secularism in political philosophy and cultural anthropology might productively be combined and contrasted with each other. I will show that Jürgen Habermas' postsecularism takes insufficient account of elementary criticisms of secularism on the part of anthropologists such as Talal Asad and Saba Mahmood. However, I shall also criticize Saba Mahmood’s reading of secularism by arguing that, in the end, she replaces the secular–religious divide with a secularity–piety divide; for example, in (...) her reading of Nasr Abu Zayd’s secular Islamic hermeneutics. This inhibits the use of her framework of analysis for a criticism of a problem central to Habermas' postsecularism, namely that it remains focused on specific intensities of belief. I shall then argue that, combined with the anthropological critiques of the secular, the political-historical nature of the fanaticism–piety–violence nexus should be integrated into political philosophical debates on secularism and postsecularism. (shrink)
In contemporary Western and Arab cultural critique, secularism as a worldview is believed to have experienced inherent transformations from solid rationalmaterialism (the emphasis on reason, science, progress, emancipation, industrialization, and nation building) to liquid non-rational materialism (the celebrationof the body, sex, global markets and consumption). This paper explores the arguments of both Zygmunt Bauman and Abdelwahab Elmessiri who advocate this thesis in the light of the major manifestations of these transformations.
This article argues that secularism is not neutral. Secularization is a process, the secular state is a structure, whereas secularism is a political philosophy. Secularism takes two main forms: first, a “benevolent” secularism that endeavours to treat all religious and nonreligious belief systems even-handedly, and, second, a “hostile” kind that privileges unbelief and excludes religion from the public sphere. I analyze the European Court of Human Rights decision in Lautsi v Italy, which illustrates these types. The (...) article concludes that secularism as a political philosophy cannot be neutral, and the secular state is not neutral in its effects, standpoint, governing assumptions or treatment of religious truth claims. (shrink)
In order to avoid both religious intolerance and religious indifference, we need to develop a positive notion of an open laicity or secularity that permits us to respect our religiously plural as well as secular contemporary situation. Open laicity or secularity is the practical and political consequence of a Protestant theology and spirituality. It represents a critical answer to the disaster of secularism and laicism. Most of the difficulties in the discussion between traditionalist Christians (Orthodox, Catholic, or Evangelical!) and (...) modern, critical Christians (Protestant, Catholic, and maybe some Orthodox too!) come from a confusion between the danger of secularism and laicism, that this article criticizes very deeply, and the positive reality of a secular world, grounded in the very biblical and theological understanding of a created world, in which God has given to all human beings the task to behave in a rational, responsible, creative, and respectful way. (shrink)
The contemporary secularism is found to be a philosophy of life “as if there were no God” or a kind of ideology, which demands an absolute autonomy of human being to shape his destination. In the philosophy of Descartes at least three sources of secularism could be found: his theory of cognition which resulted in developing other than the classical concept of truth and rationality; his metaphysics; his arguments for the existence of God and in his concept of (...) the nature of God. Karl Marx’s criticism of religion was a next powerful factor on the advance of secularism. Marx makes the charge against the religion that it acts to reinforce the break down the conscience of man living in the modern society, into a public and a private realm. The widest criticism of religion was made by Marx in: Acontribution to the Hegel’s criticism on the philosophy of law”. Especially its first seven paragraph, are particularly important in view of the advance of secularism. F. Nietzsche undermines metaphysics by showing that knowledge of a non-empirical world is cognitively superfluous. He makes clear that he has moved beyond the assumption that there might be a metaphysical world to a positing of the empirical world as the only one. Nietzsche considers that the notion of God is inimical to human nature and human life. Is this really so in reality? Is Nietzsche’s consideration about God and religion in any way applicable to our own age? (shrink)
Este trabajo tiene como objetivo mostrar lo que es una sana laicidad en la sociedad actual pluralista, multicultural, democrática y diversa. En primer lugar se presentan dos tentaciones de la iglesia hoy: refugiarse en el ghetto y cerrarse al mundo dando razón a los fundamentalistas laicos que la consideran como algo privado, o salir a la cruzada a imponer sus creencias y su mensaje. Luego se analiza el proceso histórico de formación del pluralismo, de la laicidad y de la libertad (...) religiosa con énfasis en los modelos norteamericano y francés. Se concluye con una visión de lo que es la laicidad en la doctrina de la iglesia católica hoy y una propuesta de lo que debe ser el verdadero pluralismo y la sana laicidad hoy. This article has as aim show what is a healthy secularism in the current pluralist, multicultural, democratic and diverse society. First, it presents two temptations of the church today: to shelter in the ghetto and to be closed to the world giving reason to the lay fundamentalists who consider faith to be something private, or to go out to the crusade to impose Christian beliefs and message. Then there is analyzed the historical process of formation of the pluralism, of the secularism and of the religious freedom emphatically in the models North American and French. The article concludes with a vision of what is the secularism in the doctrine of the catholic church today and a proposal of what must be the real pluralism and the healthy secularism today. (shrink)
Abstract After defining three broad positions adopted in the long?standing French polemic about secularism and education, and suggesting that they correspond to different attitudes to the state's sanctioning of consensus in a pluralist society, the author describes how the traditional boundaries between conflicting positions have been blurred by interventionist policies in education as well as by the evolution of Catholic attitudes. Illustrating his comments from recent controversies in France, he suggests that future discussion of the secularist issue may be (...) more closely related to the actual content of the curriculum, especially in its social and moral aspects, than to the rehearsal of traditional grievances. (shrink)
Emmanuel Levinas has provided a hermeneutical key for reinterpreting the Western intellectual tradition. Certain recurring conundrums of Western philosophy led him to regard ethics above all other modes of inquiry and to emphasize infinity rather than totality. Yet, the primacy of the ethical cannot do what he wants it to do. To reinterpret the Western intellectual tradition, it is necessary to shift emphasis to the distinction between infinity and totality. This highlights the religious dimension of secularism, i.e., how modern (...) liberalism still nurtures a religious project, even if that project is itself the result of secularization. It also facilitates a…. (shrink)
This paper is a historically based approach to the topic of contemporary political and religious status of Nigeria. Recently, the secular administration by Islamists has generated violence between Muslims and Christians. The latter view Islamism as a gradual Islamisation of the country. Modern Islamists plead for a re-introduction of sharia and OIC membership. They reject the secular status of Nigeria, the Islamic banking and educational system, etc. The meaning and purpose of these are not different from hijrah, and mahdism of (...) early 20th century. The is- sue is about restoring the ousted Caliphal system, and about rejecting the Western system and secularism, which were introduced by imperialists. The spirit of Islamism is increasing, especially among the grass-roots, elite, and politicians. In these circumstances, the phe- nomenon has to be assessed in an interdisciplinary way. (shrink)
In the scholarship and discourse on French republicanism, it has become something of a received wisdom that the distinct, yet amorphous concept of laïcité in the French history of thought is set apart from the political liberalism of the Anglo-American world. While embracing the separation of religious and civil authority, laïcité is also associated with a highly abstracted and unitary ideal of citizenship, seeking to commit religious, cultural and ethnic differences to the ‘private sphere’, and a formal equality of rights (...) that eschews the deterministic politics of ‘difference’. It is true that the origins of the ideal lie partly in the perfectionist zeal of the late 19th century—when the neologism ‘laïcité’ emerged—during which the anticlericalists of the Third Republic conceived constitutional secularism as a tool with which to emancipate the citizenry from servile, irrational belief-systems. Audard claims that even today, the ‘positivist epistemic’ basis of laïcité renders it unsuitable as a basis for public justification within the ‘political’ strictures of Rawlsian liberalism. I argue that this overlooks the very mixed ideological pedigree of laïcité in the French history of thought—its committal of religious identities to the ‘private sphere’ being compatible with the Rawlsian recognition of ‘reasonable pluralism’. Moreover, this juxtaposition also overlooks certain underexplored, Rawlsian resonances in the French republican history of thought. (shrink)
This essay explores what it means to say that we live today in ?a secular age.? A distinction between two kinds of secularism is introduced and the proposal is made that the secularity that characterises our age belongs to a distinctively Graeco-Christian heritage. This proposal is elaborated and developed in the context of the Nietzschean pronouncement of the death of God and against the background of the decline in theodicial conceptions of history. However, rather than see these issues as (...) connected to a growing nihilism in European society or in terms of a movement towards a widespread atheism, they are interpreted, in many respects optimistically, in terms of the awakening and ongoing movement of a distinctively democratic desire. (shrink)
1. The birth of dialogue from the spirit of the Polish October political uprising: From social civil war and simple exclusions (even physical) to negotiations andcomplicated “Dialogue of Contradictions” within national entity. Almost 25 years before the much later birth and international triumph of the Solidarity Union, the “Polish October” of 1956, history’s first victorious anti-Stalinist political uprising and most certainly a historical milestone for Poland—if not all of Europe—was the main harbinger of change in all fundamental spheres of life.2. (...)Secularism in the place of atheism or the acceptance of pluralism at the price of indifference :the “our little stability” ideology3. International cooperation as a fundamental inspiration and “umbrella”4. Patriotism as a “civic religion” mainly for unbelievers and even mediatisation of materialism and Christianity5. Towards a new complementarity/synergy-founded universalism6. New names, new problems7. Synopsis, updates8. The next stage: Dialogue and Universalism Virtual University experimental project. (shrink)
I explicate and argue for a way of looking at life, and responding to it, that is uncompromisingly secularist. It is an atheism and a social naturalism: a distinctive form of naturalism that I argue answers better than religious orientations or “scientific” forms of naturalism to both our cognitive interests and to our moral and political and other affective interests. It is a thoroughly anti-metaphysical naturalism rejecting metaphysical realism and physicalism without taking an antirealistor dualist turn. How it is a (...) social naturalism is explained and defended as well as the senses in which it is non-scientistic, historicist, and contextualist. It will alsoseek to make clear what really grips some religiously sensitive people, even people fully attuned to modernity, about religion and then to show how we can live full well and even flourishingly without religion. However, I do not only argue that we can so live, but that we should so live. We should be secularists all the way down. (shrink)
The principles of liberal political theory are often said to be "freestanding." Are they indeed sufficiently detached from the cultural setting where they emerged to be intelligible to people with other backgrounds? To answer this question, this essay examines the Indian secularism debate and develops a hypothesis on the process whereby liberal principles crystallized in the West and spread elsewhere. It argues that the secularization of western political thought has not produced independent rational principles, but transformed theological ideas into (...) the "topoi" of a culture. Like all topoi, the principles of liberalism depend on other clusters of ideas present in western societies. When they migrate to new settings, the absence of these surrounding ideas presents fundamental obstacles to the interpretation and elaboration of liberal principles. The case of Indian secularism illustrates the cultural limitations of liberal political theory rather than showing its universal significance. (shrink)
This article discusses aspects of the role of religion in law and society as discussed in Julian Rivers’ book, The Law of Organized Religions: Between Establishment and Secularism. Rivers provides a detailed and systematic account of the English law relating to organized religion. He argues that the role of freedom of religion as a collective right is in danger of being overshadowed by a newer more individualized understanding of the right, which then leads to inferior protection for religious rights (...) in contemporary society. This article considers his arguments, and suggests that an understanding of the parallel interests of equality need further recognition if we are to achieve an optimal understanding of the role of organized religion in society. (shrink)
The claim in the title of this article is now heard more and more frequently. It often comes from religious people who have themselves been targets of attack for fundamentalism, and they feel compelled to pay back this criticism in the same currency. Secularists, too, they claim, hold fast to a point of view, and this tenacity of belief is in itself deemed a fundamentalism, the religious person argues. The character of the point of view in question is of no (...) importance; the very fact that it is held is sufficient to denounce it as fundamentalism. This is a smart…. (shrink)
In Morocco’s process of liberalization (and democratization), the dynamics between social actors defining themselves as “secular” and those labeled “Islamist” are critical. This paper probes the possibility of these actors transcending their frequent opposition and building mutual trust and “civil” interaction, thereby strengthening civil society and the possibility of continued reform in Morocco. Using Morocco’s recent Equity and Reconciliation Commission as an analytical tool, the paper focuses on the human rights arena as a potentially fruitful place for Islamists and secularists (...) to meet. To what extent is a shared commitment to human rights norms possible for non-violent Islamists and secularists? And can a flexible idea of human rights be an effective tool to create trust despite mutual perceptions of threatening ideal aims in the “other”? (shrink)
The aim of this study is to explore the influence of religious beliefs on the work-related attitudes of Turkish SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) owner-managers. In this research, the emergence of pious or devout business people is considered as a phenomenon, and special attention is paid to religious transformation and secularism in Turkey. Both concepts, religion and secularism, are considered within the Turkish context. For the research, in-depth interviews were conducted with 32 Turkish business people from religious and (...) secular backgrounds, respectively. The study investigates the so-called “Islamic work ethic” values and Islamic business principles from a critical perspective and argues that they do not seem to be as significant factors as predicted in the emergence of pious or devout business people in Turkey. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch and moral philosophy -- Understanding the other: a Gadamerian view on conceptual schemes -- Language not mysterious? -- Celan and the recovery of language -- Nationalism and modernity -- Conditions of an unforced consensus on human rights -- Democratic exclusion (and its remedies?) -- Religious mobilizations -- Themes from a secular age -- The immanent counter-enlightenment -- Notes on the sources of violence: perennial and modern -- The future of the religious past -- Disenchantment-re-enchantment -- What does (...) class='Hi'>secularism mean? -- Die blosse Vernunft ("reason alone") -- Perils of moralism -- What was the Axial revolution? (shrink)
Prof. H. Odera Oruka started the sage philosophy project, in which he interviewed wise elders in Kenyan rural areas to show that Africans could philosophize. He intended to create a “national culture” by drawing upon sages from different ethnic groups and he downplayed religious differences, as did Kwame Nkrumah, who had a similar goal of building “national culture” in Ghana. Both projects were secular insofar as they preferred to emphasize rationality and downplay religious belief or “superstition” as backward and needing (...) to be cast off. I deal with one apparent counter-example: at the burial trial for S. M. Otieno, Odera Oruka seemed to defend the traditional Luo belief of spirits. I note, however, that Odera Oruka is evasive and indirect in how he answers the questions and his responses could be due to his wanting to appear connected to his rural compatriots, a value explained by Frantz Fanon in his treatment of the topic of national culture. The paper concludes by alluding to extensive interviews done with the sages from Kenya on topics related to religious beliefs and practices, during which sages subject those beliefs and practices to rational scrutiny. (shrink)
Amarnath Amarasingham, ed., Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010. xv + 253 pp. ISBN 978-9-0041-8557-9, hardback £81.00/€139.00/$190.00. Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines (religious studies, sociology of religion, sociology of science, philosophy and theology) in order to critically engage with so-called ‘new atheism’. The study is a collection of essays that not so much gives primacy to discrediting the limited scholarship of new atheist (...) literature (although there is plenty of powerful critique to be found in its pages) but demonstrates where we can place new atheism in relation to generally more informed and intellectually rigorous debates about religion and atheism. This review essay examines their powerful arguments and briefly introduces possible Bhaskarian, Hegelian and Darwinian-Marxian contributions to the case against new atheism. (shrink)
In response to Lawrence Blum?s critique of my paper ?Education for tolerance?, I argue that the state should not use its control of schools and the content of teaching to impose a new and controversial interpretation of parenthood, nor to preempt parents? right to an education for their children that is consistent with their own religious and moral convictions.
Discussions of the relations between religions, society, politics, and the state in recent political philosophy are characterized, firstly, by a strong US American bias focusing on limitations of religious arguments in public debate. Even if the restriction or radical exclusion of religious reasons from public debate has recently been extensively criticized, secularist interpretations of liberal-democratic constitutions still prevail. Here it is argued that both strong secularism and weak or second order secularism are counterproductive for many reasons. Secondly, separationist (...) interpretations of state-church relations are predominant, even if the severe wall of separation is criticized more often nowadays. Here it is argued that there are more and more interesting options than either separationism or accommodationism, that we should not exclusively focus at the constitutional relations between state and churches but address the full reciprocal relationship between society, culture, politics, nation, state and (organized) religions, and that we need more historical and comparative perspectives for the required institutionalist turn in political theory in order to overcome the obstacles inherent in predominant American political philosophy. The articles included in this volume are first, modest steps in this new direction. (shrink)
It should be hardly surprising to discover that eighteenth-century European perspectives of other cultures were shaped to a large extent by concerns internal to European political life. Objective or unprejudiced accounts of non-European cultures are rarely found among travellers, missionaries, and philosophers of the time. While the insights of Enlightenment political thinkers on the non-European world may shed little light on the cultures being commented upon, they are useful for assessing the nature of the Enlightenment's engagement with cultural traditions external (...) to Europe. In particular, Enlightenment conceptions of China were extremely varied and reflective of the debates between Enlightenment thinkers, especially on the proper relation between religion and politics. I shall argue that Montesquieu's account of Confucianism in The Spirit of the Laws (De l?esprit des lois, first published in 1748) was in part influenced by his critique of Bayle's position on the role of religion in society as expounded in his Various Thoughts on the Comet (Pensées diverses sur la comète, published in 1682). While Montesquieu's account and assessment of Chinese thought and culture are ?Eurocentric,? his evaluation of Confucianism nevertheless arises from a considered philosophical position on religion and politics. (shrink)