Theology and the Soul of the Liberal State (Graven Images) by Leonard V. Kaplan, Charles L. Cohen

By Leonard V. Kaplan, Charles L. Cohen

Emerging calls in either the U.S. and in a foreign country for theologizing nationwide agendas have renewed examinations approximately no matter if liberal states can accommodate such courses with out both endangering electorate' rights or trivializing spiritual matters. traditional knowledge means that theology is unavoidably unfriendly to the liberal kingdom, yet neither philosophical research nor empirical argument has convincingly proven that end. studying the matter from quite a few views together with legislations, philosophy, background, political idea, and non secular experiences, the essays in Theology and the Soul of the Liberal kingdom recommend the probabilities for and bounds on what theological mirrored image may perhaps give a contribution to liberal polities around the globe. Theology and the Soul of the Liberal kingdom develops those matters less than 5 headings. half One explores 'The Nature of non secular Argument' because it can inflect discussions of public coverage, political thought, jurisprudence, and schooling. half , 'Theologies of the Marketplace,' notes that theology can by means of turns be hugely serious, impartial, or maybe inordinately supportive of marketplace operations. half 3, 'European Perspectives,' studies and develops arguments from Abraham Kuyper, Karl Barth, and French post-modernists bearing on how one may possibly combine theological discourse into the general public sphere. half 4 bargains Israel, Pakistan and Tibet as 'Asian views' on how theology may perhaps comport with liberalism in lately created states (or, within the final case, a diasporic government-in-exile) the place strong non secular constituencies make 'secular' civil motion super complicated. eventually, half V, 'Religion and Terror,' probes the vexed dating among conceptions of divine and human justice, the place the imperatives of theology and country confront one another so much nakedly. jointly, Theology and the Soul of the Liberal kingdom means that the liberal nation can't hold theology out of public discourse and will even reap the benefits of its intervention, yet that their intersection, if most likely priceless, is often fraught.

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And how can a culture thrive or a society learn if it hears only thoughts it already knows, or arguments that fit patterns it already accepts? The chief fear of those who seek to guard us from appeals to religious thoughts, sacred texts, inspired traditions, and revelatory utterances is that such appeals will infect our laws and ordinances (worse still, our political discourse) with musty standards unconscionable to many. The worry is strikingly selective. Secularists may struggle against religious claims about euthanasia or abortion.

It cannot be all our fellow citizens whose acceptance is critical. There will be some among them who are not reasonable on the issue. . 19 Rawls’s modest proposal founders on suppositious reasoning about what reasonable people would deem reasonable. The gaping hole is the old fallacy of presuming agreement among all right-thinking individuals. But persons who disagree on policy matters often disagree on epistemic matters too. Just as litigators and their advocates find basic rights to support their more immediate claims, so can epistemologists readily pin any value question to a suitable cultural standard.

Spiritually there is grave danger in the loss of sincerity. For sincerity is the first line of defense against the abuse of religious authority and the first (but hardly sufficient) guarantor of religious authenticity. 22 There’s enough hypocrisy attendant on the institution of religion without compounding the problem by confounding the powers of the state and the privileges at its command with the genuine questions of moral worth and spiritual merit, intellectual honesty, and human desert and need that are the proper sphere of religious thought and action and the proper subjects of religious recognition.

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