Religious Diversity and the Liberal Consensus

Q: How do you maintain social cohesion in the face of religious diversity? “Discover elements in other cultures where the prospects for recognition and agreement are promising, and hence such a response keeps open the possiblity of a coversation even where there are large areas of disagreement.” (50) Multiculturalism Conditions for multiculturalism “Social harmony is unlikely to emerge on the basis of political indifference on the part of government. Because a social consensus is unlikely in modern differentiated societies to be spontaneous, bubbling up from civil society, governments have to have multicultural policies and have to defend strategies that are designed to create social peace.” (55)

Challenges to social cohesion “Rituals of intimacy” o These are everyday mores that are important for defining religious differences, sustaining group identities and maintaining the continuity of the group o By defining identity, they inevitably encourage exclusiveness Fundamentalism o An attempt to control, clense or eradicate popular religion o Incompatible and antagonistic against popular religion Tensions arising from diversification of society o When conflicting cultures clash o Global changes in religious identity generally resulted in intensifying standards of religious behaviour, or “pietization”, often with the effect of creating social exclusion

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Maintaining social cohesion The Liberal Consensus: “(b)ecause, philosophical or moral unity is neither possible nor necessary for social unity, if social stability is not merely a modus vivendi, it must be rooted in a reasonable political conception of right and justice affirmed by an overlapping consensus of comprehensive doctrines” (57) Only provides a working basis if there are overlapping social and cultural ties creating social bonds between diverse social groups, creating mutual bonds and interpersonal trust Such overlapping social groups are not easily created because of religious exclusivism “Multiculturalism and tolerance of others can only be sustained where there exist some overlapping associational supports for social harmony and where there is sufficient countervailing social bonding to counteract political tensions arising from cultural (in this case religious) diversity. These conditions for social harmony are various: economic, cultural and educational, and political and juridical.” (66)

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but some animals are more equal than others Are social bonds alone enough to sustain social cohesion in the face of religious conflicts? Is social cohesion only challenged by social exclusiveness of groups? Are there other threats not mentioned that cannot be smoothed over by social bonds alone? - - - - .Questions Turner’s argument that social bonding must be the basis of a working “liberal consensus” assumes that understanding each other can allow people to transcend cultural differences. “them” being popular religion o All animals are equal. Is this true? Can social bonding alone be enough to overcome the “us” and “them” worldview inherent in fundamentalist ideologies? o In Turner’s example. thus creating harmonious social bonds.

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