CONNOLLY WHY I AM NOT A SECULARIST PDF

Coming soon. In response, he crafts a new model of public life that more accurately reflects the needs of contemporary politics. This is a first-rate book by one of the most creative political theorists in the country. Why I Am Not a Secularist is powerful and original. Many liberal secularists decry this trend, rejecting any interaction between politics and religion.

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William E. No beliefs, brought into the public sphere, are beyond critique or contestation. According to Connolly, modern day secularism has innumerable problems that it must face. It does so in the name of a public sphere in which reason, morality, and tolerance flourish.

By doing so I forfeits some of the very resources needed to foster a generous pluralism. This kind of exclusion of other voices, specifically religious voices, also creates an environment of hostility and antagonism, one that nurtures in the religious a feeling of disappointment and disdain for the secular public sphere.

These historical tensions have created a bipartisan space that ignores, or fails to incorporate, those whose beliefs fall outside of it. They refashion existing moral norms without doing away with morals altogether. In contrast with Rawls, Connolly does not want one authoritative center in Rawls case liberal secularism to occupy the center of public discourse.

In response to Connolly, I am going to argue why some of his key positions are admirable, but that some of the conclusions he draws from them are not. It also asks for modern secularists to see the faults of their own position and the ways in which it may ostracize persons and restrict political change.

We see and hear a plurality of voices all around us. One might actually argue that secularism and atheism are the voices being silenced in public political discourse.

It asks persons and groups to admit the comparative contestability of their beliefs when engaging in public political discourse. This is no easy feat. For some people and groups, to be contested is to be disrespected. Unfortunately pragmatism and fallibilism are not considered virtues in many public venues. Connolly is right to encourage contestability in public discourse, but many cannot accept this. Connolly has already lost the dogmatists, which are many.

Similarly, contestability happens often in contemporary political discourse, specifically in public debate. Many who accept democracy, political exchange, and condemn hegemony, totalitarianism, and fascism easily agree upon the third point, that no single group should occupy the authoritative center of public political discourse. It is difficult, however, to think of what Connolly has in mind here. Does he need a three, four, or five party system?

In my opinion, if one is going to take a rhyzomatic approach to politics, she would be lead to a socialist perspective. Connolly never directly addresses this question, for he mainly discusses the rhyzomatic as a method of engagement between different constituencies. I am personally fine with socialism, but Connolly seems to think that a socialist perspective can be fit into a Capitalistic social and political system. Although it sounds good on paper, it is most likely impossible in the system we inhabit.

It is a Procrustean bed. Connolly challenges secularism, not simply as a model of politics, but also as a modus vivendi that has a false conception of what its history is. Secularists, as Connolly thinks, have painted an all-too-simple picture of religion and religious beliefs. They look back at medieval Christendom and contrast it with Enlightenment secularism, its progresses, virtues, and achievements. It views itself as the answer to religious wars, religious hegemony, and totalitarianism.

It thinks of itself as the progeny of the scientific revolution, the elevation of reason, and a mode of cleaning public discourse from dubious metaphysical assumptions and religious beliefs.

It is true that an overly simplistic view of the history of secularism can be misleading. It can lead people to accept a nice and clear story of the rise of secularism. The truth is that the rise of secularism and secularity is complex, often intertwining cultural, political, economic, social, and religious shifts in understanding. For instance, Newton was a frontiersman for science and yet he was a strange kind of Christian alchemist.

Not to mention Martin Luther who, in spite of his deeply held religious commitments, argued for the separation of Church and State. John Locke was another precursor to liberal democracy who argued for The Reasonableness of Christianity , and George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln argued for religious freedom from a deistic perspective. History tells us a story of secularism that is mixed with the deeply religious, nominally religious, quasi-religious, as well as those who held what were deemed explicitly heretical views about the Church, Christ, salvation, and the nature of humanity.

As far as deep pluralism is concerned, I think Connolly is wrong for pitting secularism against it. It is my understanding that secularism provides the bare outlines for the workings of a radically diverse society.

It guarantees religious freedom Free Practice Clause as well as keeps the political system from being controlled by any given religious group Establishment Clause. Not to mention that it has granted privileges to religious persons and groups, despite what its opponents say. As I understand it, secularism is what religious pluralism needs to continue.

As far as I can see, the press, various media, colleges, libraries, and city halls have and do practice agonistic engagement with different comprehensive doctrines. Despite this, the United States has continued to be an overwhelmingly religious country, as is seen by the beliefs of our elected representatives.

What happens in the real world is something completely different. Freedom entails difference; difference entails deep-seated disagreements, disagreements that will not be remedied. The agonistic model of discourse is more civil and convivial, but the antagonism that exists between certain persons and groups may be inevitable.

By seeking to provide answers to the problems facing a radically diverse society, Connolly may actually be working against deep pluralism. It calls for an unique refashioning of secularism, a method of agonistic engagement between persons and parties with different comprehensive doctrines, and promotes a deep pluralism where no one group or ideology holds the authoritative center of public political discourse.

He calls secularists to take a closer look at the history of secularism and encourages them to be more open to hearing metaphysical and religious beliefs. Connolly also wants people accept the contestability of their beliefs in the public sphere. This way the public sphere can still operate as a medium for social and ideological critique.

Firstly, Connolly puts forward many ideals that may never occur as long as difference does. To be agonistic instead of antagonistic; to admit the contestability of your beliefs; to try and fit a socialist idea of the public sphere into a Capitalistic society; and to rise above visceral reactions, are tall exhortations for a society like the United States.

It is disparaging for all who want change, and at least Connolly wants that. Skip to content Search for:. Every perspective that enters into public discourse ought to acknowledge its comparative contestability. No one philosophy i. The story secularists tell themselves about the origins and nature of secularism misses important historical facts.

Deep pluralism and the politics of becoming requires that minority views and asecular philosophies i.

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Why I Am Not a Secularist

Many liberal secularists decry this trend, rejecting any interaction between politics and religion. Connolly argues that secularism, although admirable in its pursuit of freedom and diversity, too often undercuts these goals through its narrow and intolerant understandings of public reason. In response, he crafts a new model of public life that more accurately reflects the needs of contemporary politics. Then, while elaborating an ethos of engagement that appreciates this element, he examines capital punishment, the War on Drugs, the liberal idea of the nation, the public role of atheism, and the right to die.

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Connolly first shows how the secular division between public and private life conceals the vital role of "the visceral register" in public life itself. Then, while elaborating an ethos of engagement that appreciates this element, he examines capital punishment, the War on Drugs, the liberal idea of the nation, the public role of atheism, and the right to die. The traditional formulations of secularism, Connolly contends, underestimate the vitality and complexity of real-life political judgments. At its best, secularism remains immodest in its claim to provide the authoritative basis for public reason; at its worst, it overlooks possibilities for selective collaboration between religious and nonreligious perspectives in politics. To correct these limitations, Connolly advances a bold new vision of public diversity that acknowledges questions about its own ideology, incorporates a wider variety of ethical views, and honors the desire of believers and nonbelievers alike to represent their faiths openly inthe civic forum.

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An Atheist and William Connolly

Connolly first shows how the secular division between public and private life conceals the vital role of "the visceral register" in public life itself. Then, while elaborating an ethos of engagement that appreciates this element, he examines capital punishment, the War on Drugs, the liberal idea of the nation, the public role of atheism, and the right to die. The traditional formulations of secularism, Connolly contends, underestimate the vitality and complexity of real-life political judgments. At its best, secularism remains immodest in its claim to provide the authoritative basis for public reason; at its worst, it overlooks possibilities for selective collaboration between religious and nonreligious perspectives in politics. To correct these limitations, Connolly advances a bold new vision of public diversity that acknowledges questions about its own ideology, incorporates a wider variety of ethical views, and honors the desire of believers and nonbelievers alike to represent their faithsopenly in the civic forum.

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Sign in Create an account. Syntax Advanced Search. About us. Editorial team. William E. Univ of Minnesota Press Connolly argues that secularism, although admirable in its pursuit of freedom and diversity, too often undercuts these goals through its narrow and intolerant

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