Democracy, Religion, and Reasons

The speaker for the next CRCS & ICRS Wednesday Forum is Phil Enns.

Phil Enns got his master study from Conrad Grebel College of Canada (1992-1994) and his doctorate study from University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto (1997-2006). He had experience as a lecturer in both university: Gindiri College of Theology of Nigeria (1994-1997) and in Brock University of Canada (1990-1991). Phil’s articles were spread in some international journals. To mention some of them are: “The Rule of Theology: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on Theology and Truthfulness. ” Conrad Grebel Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, Spring 2003; “Habermas, Reason, and the Problem of Religion: The Role of Religion in the Public Sphere.”Heythrop Journal, early 2008.

Abstract

The role of religion in politics has been a controversial topic I suspect for as long as there has been politics. The role of religion in modern democracies is particularly problematic given the requirement that in a democracy, decision-making is understood as being made according to reasons that all participants would consider reasonable, though not necessarily convincing. The question is, then, can religious reasons count as political reasons? I will examine this question using a fundamental condition of an effective democracy namely the principle of reciprocity. According to this principle, members of a democracy agree to accept political decisions, no matter how these decisions affect one’s personal interests, on the grounds that the decision-making process is not fundamentally biased, and so some decisions will, at times, accord with one’s own interests. I will examine whether the use of religious reasons in the political realm is compatible with this principle of reciprocity. I will conclude that depending on how one understands religion, there can be a role for religious reasons in the political realm.

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