Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Secularism.and.the.limits.of.Community

Secularism.and.the.limits.of.Community

Ratings: (0)|Views: 36 |Likes:
Published by Bogdan I. Stanciu
Secularism and the Limits of Community
by Jeremy Waldron
Secularism and the Limits of Community
by Jeremy Waldron

More info:

Published by: Bogdan I. Stanciu on Dec 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

03/17/2012

pdf

text

original

 
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1722780
 
1Essay for Rupp volume
Secularism and the Limits of Community
Jeremy WaldronI“Convictions matter,” says George Rupp, whether we share the basis of those convictions or not. People need to say what they really think onissues like globalization, poverty, and social justice, and they need tolisten to all the other convictions that are expressed on these matterseven if the content and premises of these convictions challenge thesecularism that some philosophers prescribe for the exercise of publicreason.I am heartened by Dr. Rupp’s argument against prescriptivesecularism. I use the term “prescriptive secularism” rather than his term“secular liberalism,” because I think there are some who deny thatreligious convictions have any place in politics who would not describethemselves as liberals, and there are others who call themselves liberalsbut who have grave misgivings about any prohibition on the use of religious arguments in articulating and defending their liberalism. Inumber myself among the latter group, and in this essay I would like to
 
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1722780
 
2
explore the idea that liberal views on inequality, social justice, andconcern for the poor of the world might prove harder to promotepolitically if the secularist prescription were adopted. A secular politicalculture is not necessarily a friendly place for liberalism, at least on theissues I have mentioned. Purged of all trace of the view that there issomething sacred in the poorest individual and something blasphemousin our indifference to human need, politics quickly becomes aplayground for selfishness: it becomes much more hospitable to self-satisfied prosperity and self-righteous disdain for those who have notattained prosperity than a political environment ought to be.I don't want to sell short the position of those who respondaffirmatively to need without a grounding in religious faith. There aresecular liberals and there have been fine and fiery secular theories of social justice in the liberal tradition: John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice isthe best known example from recent years.
1
But just because there canbe a liberalism ungrounded in faith, doesn't mean that the restraints of prescriptive secularism are politically neutral. They are not. Prescriptivesecularism deprives social justice of some of its most powerfuladvocacy, advocacy of a sort that is politically, if not philosophically,indispensable in the effort to open the eyes of the well-off to the plightof those who are marginalized by the very structures that guarantee ourprosperity. In his book The Needs of Strangers, Michael Ignatieff 
 
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1722780
 
3
suggested that the great enemy of religious belief is not skepticism butthe silent and pervasive plausibility of a life lived entirely in the glow of material comfort.
2
The converse is also true: material well-bring in aprosperous market economy is always liable to remain lethallyindifferent to the ocean of need that surrounds it, unless it is challengedby something that transcends its plausible comforts. The religioustraditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have been in the businessof mounting this challenge, bitterly and persistently, in the name of Godfor a thousand generations:For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of thepoor shall not perish forever. ... He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, [a]nd break inpieces the oppressor.
3
 To say now, at this late stage, that challenges like that are to bannedfrom the public square, that they are to be heard only in the churches,mosques, and synagogues, never in the marketplace and never in thelegislature, is to yield the world to those who wallow heedlessly in theirown contentment and are untroubled by purely philosophical theories of  justice.So far I don’t think I am adding much to Dr. Rupp’s analysis. Heaims to broaden the terms of our debates about globalization. He is

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->