Policies dealing with religious diversity in liberal democratic states—as well as the established institutions that enforce those policies—are increasingly under pressure. Politics and political theory are caught in a trap between the fully secularized state and neo-corporate regimes of selective cooperation between states and organized religion. This volume proposes an original, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary approach to problems of governing religious diversity—combining moral and political philosophy, constitutional law, history, sociology, and religious anthropology. Drawing on such diverse scholarship, _Secularism or Democracy?_ proposes (...) an associational governance—a moderately libertarian, flexible variety of democratic institutional pluralism—as the plausible third way to overcome the inherent deficiencies of the predominant models. (shrink)
In recent years, the intellectual tide has moved strongly against the kind of secular thinking that characterized Gellner’s work. Whether couched in terms of postcolonialism, multiculturalism, genealogy, global understanding, political theology, or the revival of normative, metaphysical and openly religious perspectives, today’s postsecular and even anti-secular mood in social theory seems to consign Gellner’s project to the dustbin of history: a stern but doomed attempt to shore up western liberal rationalism. Under some revisionary lights, it has even become pointless to (...) distinguish flexible secular thinking which still retains some firm ‘bottom lines’ from what is routinely portrayed as rampant ideological secularism. Unconvinced by key assumptions and motivations on this terrain, I reactivate Gellner’s essential concerns and propositions around secularity and secularism, feeding these into the current debates. Whilst Gellner’s stringent, unrivalled exposure of intellectual cant continues to be hugely valuable, and his sense of the utter historicity of social life and thought indispensable, Gellner’s critical positivism could not, by his own admission, produce a coherent cultural politics. (shrink)
In the second half of the twentieth century, humanism— namely, the worldview that underpinned Western thought for several centuries—has been severely critiqued by philosophers who highlighted its theoretical and ethical limitations. Inspired by the emergence of cybernetics and new technologies such as robotics, prosthetics, communications, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology, there has been a desire to articulate a new worldview that will fit the posthuman condition. Posthumanism is a description of a new form of human existence in which the (...) boundaries between humans and nature and humans and machines are blurred, as well as a prescription for an ideal situation in which the limitations of human biology are transcended, replaced by machines. The transition from the human condition to the posthuman condition will be facilitated by transhumanism, the project of human enhancement that will ultimately yield the transformation of the human species from the human to the posthuman. As an intellectual movement, transhumanism is still very small, but transhumanist ideas exert deep and broad influence on contemporary culture and society. This essay highlights the religious dimension of transhumanism and argues that it should be seen as a secularist faith: transhumanism secularizes traditional religious themes, concerns, and goals, while endowing technology with religious significance. Science‐Religion Studies is the most appropriate context to explore the cultural significance of transhumanism. (shrink)
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)
The resurgence of religious movements all over the world, their varying claims to identity and politics , and their success in generating system-transforming effects in both national and world politics have indicated clearly that there is a need to uncover the invisible interconnections between religion and politics. Moreover, the way in which religion has been striking back has taken different forms. From religious and terrorist fundamentalism to multiculturalism, from communitarian claims to the religious state to religion-based civil societal calls for (...) pluralism and freedom, it is possible to see different articulations of the resurgence of religion in the world in which we live. In this context, Turkey constitutes a sociologically illuminating, theoretically challenging and politically timely case study. As a modern republic on the margins of Europe and preparing for accession negotiations with the European Union for full membership, Turkey is both a Muslim society and a strictly secular nation-state. This article suggests, first, that the process of modernization and democratization in Turkey has always faced the problem of establishing a delicate balance between politics and religion, and, second, that in this process the more secularism is used by the state elite to control religion, the less pluralistic and democratic the state has become in governing a society where Islam has always played an important role in the symbolic formation of Turkish identity. What is needed in this context is a ‘democratic secular imaginary’ as a more dialogical, tolerant and accommodating strategy of living with difference, enabling us to understand religious claims to difference in their own right, and to approach them clearly and critically. (shrink)
In this article I analyse some of the reasons for a recent, resurgent interest in religion and theology by political philosophers and relate this interest to an inherent instability in modernity itself. In the first part I describe the landscape of current political philosophy with a particular emphasis on radical philosophers. In the second part I describe how the liberal distinction between religion and politics generates a theological instability due to the effective disappearance of the social embodiment of religion within (...) modernity. In the third part I draw some conclusions regarding the challenges the new post-secular condition presents to theology. (shrink)
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)
How to theorise religion in International Relations? Does the concept of post-secularity advance the debate on religion beyond the ‘return of religion’ and the crisis of secular reason? This article argues that the post-secular remains trapped in the logic of secularism. First, a new account is provided of the ‘secularist bias’ that characterises mainstream IR theory: defining religion in either essentialist or epiphenomenal terms; positing a series of ‘antagonistic binary opposites’ such as the secular versus the religious; de-sacralising and (...) re-sacralising the public square. The article then analyses post-secularity, showing that it subordinates faith under secular reason and sacralises the ‘other’ by elevating difference into the sole transcendental term. Theorists of the post-secular such as Jürgen Habermas or William Connolly also equate secular modernity with metaphysical universalism, which they seek to replace with post-metaphysical pluralism. In contrast, the alternative that this article outlines is an international theory that develops the Christian realism of the English School in the direction of a metaphysical-political realism. Such a realism binds together reason with faith and envisions a ‘corporate’ association of peoples and nations beyond the secularist settlement of Westphalia that is centred on national states and transnational markets. By linking immanent values to transcendent principles, this approach can rethink religion in international affairs and help revive grand theory in IR. (shrink)
SEBASTIÁN RUDAS | : Moralized secularism is the view that “secularism” is defined in relation to certain moral values. Jocelyn Maclure and Charles Taylor’s “liberal pluralism” is an influential version of moralized secularism, for it states that freedom of conscience and equal respect are the fundamental moral values of secularism. I present the objection that secularism is a redundant category because it carries no distinctive normative content that cannot be found in the more general, and (...) less divisive, terminology of liberalism and democracy. In order to avoid this objection, I argue for conceiving secularism in a nonmoralized way. According to my view, secularism refers solely to the institutional arrangements that a state can put in place in order to address conflicts with organized religion that might emerge at the moment of advancing its ideological political project. Through this interpretation, it is possible to conceptualize expressions of secularism that are either not liberal or not motivated by the acknowledgment of new forms of pluralism as being the prime challenge a state faces for advancing its political project. As the redundancy objection shows, this is a possibility that moralized accounts of secularism preclude. | : Les versions moralisées de la laïcité définissent la « laïcité » par rapport à des valeurs morales. Le « pluralisme libéral » de Jocelyn Maclure et Charles Taylor est un exemple influent de la laïcité moralisée, car il affirme que la liberté de conscience et l’égal respect sont les valeurs morales fondamentales de la laïcité. Je propose l’objection selon laquelle la laïcité est une catégorie redondante, car elle ne comporte aucun contenu normatif distinctif qui ne peut être trouvé dans la terminologie plus générale et moins controversée du libéralisme et de la démocratie. Pour répondre à cette objection, je soutiens qu’il faut concevoir la laïcité de manière non moralisée. Selon moi, la laïcité se réfère seulement aux arrangements institutionnels qu’un État peut mettre en place pour répondre aux conflits avec les religions organisées qui pourraient surgir au moment de faire avancer son projet politique idéologique. Dans cette interprétation, il est possible de conceptualiser des expressions de laïcité qui sont non libérales, ou qui ne sont pas motivées par la reconnaissance de nouvelles formes de pluralisme à titre de principal défi auquel un État est confronté pour faire avancer son projet politique. Comme le montre l’objection de redondance, c’est une possibilité que la laïcité moralisée exclut. (shrink)
The aim of the essay is to demonstrate that the contact of European philosophy with Chinese thought in the second half of the 17th and 18th century influenced the rise and development of secularism, which became a distinctive feature of the Western Enlightenment. The first part examines how knowing the history of China and Confucian ethics has questioned biblical chronology and undermined faith as a necessary condition of morality. These allegations were afterwards countered by reinterpreting Confucianism as crypto-monotheism. I (...) will argue this debate has contributed to the birth of secular philosophy of history, which put an end to the Enlightenment Sinophilism. Throughout those changes in the image of China, nothing but an image was discussed: as it would be presented on a basis of the thought of Wang Fuzhi and other representatives of Chinese kaozheng考證 movement, the encounter with the contemporaries of the Westerners would have opened a real dialogue. (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.
This essay examines Secularism as developed by George Jacob Holyoake in 1851–1852. While historians have noted the importance of evolutionary thought for freethinking radicals from the 1840s, and others have traced the popularization of agnosticism and Darwinian evolution by later Victorian freethinkers, insufficient attention has been paid to mid-century Secularism as constitutive of the cultural and intellectual environment necessary for the promotion and relative success of scientific naturalism. I argue that Secularism was a significant source for the (...) emerging new creed of scientific naturalism in the mid-nineteenth century. Not only did early Secularism help clear the way by fighting battles with the state and religious interlocutors, but it also served as a source for what Huxley, almost twenty years later, termed ‘agnosticism’. Holyoake modified freethought in the early 1850s, as he forged connections with middle-class literary radicals and budding scientific naturalists, some of whom met in a ‘Confidential Combination’ of freethinkers. Secularism became the new creed for this coterie. Later, Secularism promoted and received reciprocal support from the most prominent group of scientific naturalists, as Holyoake used Bradlaugh's atheism and neo-Malthusianism as a foil, and maintained relations with Huxley, Spencer and Tyndall through the end of the century. In Holyoake's Secularism we find the beginnings of the mutation of radical infidelity into the respectability necessary for the acceptance of scientific naturalism, and also the distancing of later forms of infidelity incompatible with it. Holyoake's Secularism represents an important early stage of scientific naturalism. (shrink)
But in Why I Am Not a Secularist, distinguished political theorist William E. Connolly argues that secularism, although admirable in its pursuit of freedom and diversity, too often undercuts these goals through its narrow and intolerant ...
Indian Secularism is different from the understanding of Secularism in the West. In India the concept of secularism is understood not as a separation of State and Religion but the recognition, protection and support of all religions by the State without any discrimination. Though Hinduism is the religion of about 80% Indians it is not a State religion. In the recent past some Hindu fundamentalist groups are trying to destroy the pluralist culture and multi-religious ethos of India (...) by using political power to make India mono-cultural and mono-religious. It is a threat to Indian Secularism. It is to be resisted by all right thinking Indian citizens. The present text is the Statement of the Indian Theological Association from its Annual Seminar conducted in 2009. (shrink)
I challenge the 'cosmopolitan secularist' 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. The moral resources of religion are only fully available to those authentically participate in religious practices and communities - something secularists, no matter how cosmopolitan, can achieve. I conclude that cosmopolitan secularism cannot fulfil its promise to preserve the moral resources of (...) religion in the absence of genuine religious traditions and communities. (shrink)
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)
In this essay I examine the debate between Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor on the post-secular state. I argue that, although their views on the relation of religion and politics converge in certain respects, a profound difference remains between their overall approaches. Their disagreement on the epistemic status of religious as opposed to secular moral reasons, and on the role religious arguments can play in the public sphere testify to a deeper schism. Thus what might at first seem like a (...) quarrel about details proves to be a fundamental philosophical divide on the issue of modernity. I conclude that Taylor’s model of post-secularism is more promising as an approach to the challenge posed by growing religious and cultural diversity, for, if understood as a version of “reiterative universalism,” it avoids both moral relativism and Eurocentrism. (shrink)
Both the sociological as well as biblical-theological concepts of secularism may make use of the phenomenological discussions of implicit horizonal knowledge as informing explicit forms of knowing. If secularism may mean the erosion of faith by way of appropriation of fundamental beliefs about oneself or the world, the deep secularism may mean an appropriation of beliefs which make faith itself appear reprehensible. But perhaps the deepest form of secularism is the existence of scientific, reductionist naturalism; this (...) may take the forms eliminativism or of identity theory. This ‘secularism’ is such that it makes knowing itself impossible. Its basic move is to reduce the transcendental conditions of the manifestation, description, or display of the world to physical causes. Its most startling thesis is that first-person experience itself is an illusion and this illusion is the source of the major lies and beliefs that are most harmful for the culture, e.g. religious faith and belief in immortality. Unfortunately for deep secularism, as scientistic reductionistic materialist naturalism, it self-destructs. (shrink)
Working in four scholarly teams focused on different global regions—North America, the European Union, the Middle East, and China—the contributors to _Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging_ examine how new political worlds intersect with locally specific articulations of religion and secularism. The essays address many topics, including the changing relationship between Islam and politics in post-2010 revolution Tunisia, the influence of religion on the sharp turn to the political right in Western Europe, understandings of Confucianism as a form of (...)secularism, and the alliance between evangelical Christians and neoliberal business elites in the United States since the 1970s. This volume also provides a methodological template for how humanities scholars around the world can collaboratively engage with sweeping issues of global significance. Contributors. Markus Balkenhol, Elizabeth Bentley, Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, David N. Gibbs, Ori Goldberg, Marcia Klotz, Zeynep Kurtulus Korkman, Leerom Medovoi, Eva Midden, Mohanad Mustafa, Mu-chou Poo, Shaul Setter, John Vignaux Smith, Pooyan Tamimi Arab, Ernst van den Hemel, Albert Welter, Francis Ching-Wah Yip, Raef Zreik. (shrink)
Wallace, Meg Once again, Fiji church leaders have raised objections to the establishment of a secular state based on erroneous representations of what secularism means - this time in Fiji. In what seems to be the first salvo in an election campaign leading up to the 2014 elections there, senior Catholic and Protestant clerics have come out against provisions in the recently adopted Constitution that declares Fiji a secular state, in which religion is deemed 'personal'. It was reported in (...) the Fiji News 7 December 2013 that 'the Catholic and Methodist Church do not think Fiji is ready for a secular state', declaring that religion is not a personal, but a public matter. (shrink)
This paper discusses the diverse forms of contemporary Islam practised by the Kists, inhabitants of Georgia's Pankisi Gorge related to the Chechens. The newest wave of Salafi-inspired Islam among the young generation of Chechens, mostly men who have fought in the Chechen-Russian war, is aesthetically marked by a distinctive style of minaret and by a more public adhān than Pankisi has hitherto known. The reactions of local Kists to the aesthetics and morality of the new Islam, and the distinctions between (...) Salafi, Wahhabi, and Pankisi Islam are explored. It is argued that the new Islam is not as foreign to the Caucasus as scholarship tends to suggest. Ethnographies of minarets and headstones are followed by an exploration of reactions to Soviet secularism in the historiography of Chechen Islam. Positioning itself within recent scholarship aiming to overcome the constraints imposed by secular forms of knowledge in the study of Islamic societies, the paper seeks to locate the unique modes of Kist belief within the framework of a comparative, post-secular anthropology of Islam. (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.
_The Secular Outlook: In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism_ shows how people can live together and overcome the challenge of religious terrorism by adopting a "secular outlook" on life and politics. Shows how secularism can answer the problem of religious terrorism Provides new perspectives on how religious minorities can be integrated into liberal democracies Reveals how secularism has gained a new political and moral significance. Also examines such topics as atheism, religious criticism and free speech.
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)