Religion in the Public Arena

Ethical Perspectives 16 (3):283-309 (2009)
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Abstract

The present contribution focuses on the place of religion in the public domain and revolves around three concepts: vulnerability, recognition and tragedy. Focusing on these three notions, I will endeavour to shed some light on the complex relationship between religion and the public arena. More specifically, I will draw attention to the fact that the struggle for recognition can often lead to tragedy. There is no adequate political solution to this problem. The reason for this is that the nature of the recognition religious people desire differs from that which the political system seems to be able to offer. Nevertheless, and I hope to elaborate this in what follows, an appropriate answer to this problem needs to be found, since the danger exists that the struggle for recognition might derail . It is in this perspective that I turn to religion. Whereas politics manoeuvres within the domain of solvable problems, religion offers people a framework to deal appropriately with problems for which no solution appears to exist, or at least not an immediate one. In situations of inner conflict, religion can open up perspectives of hope for solidarity

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