Habermas and Rawls on Democracy, Reason and Faith

  • David West


The relationship between religion and society has become urgent once again. The emergence of a politicized Christian right, militant jihadist and theocratic Islamism as well as radical Hindu and Buddhist groups, have inspired political conflict and, in some cases, acts of violence threatening the stability of states. The conflicts inspired by religious movements are exacerbated by the aggressive secularism of processes of globalization dominated by the West. Neoliberal globalization causes economic and social disruption in weak and peripheral states. In the aftermath of colonialism, secular dictatorships supported by the West have, through brutality, corruption and incompetence, created fertile ground for popular movements founded on pre-existing religious identities. In recent years, the West’s double standards and postcolonial amnesia have combined with disastrous military interventions to fuel further anger and resentment. Its ideological commitments to a one-dimensional scientific rationalism, an essentially amoral process of capitalist accumulation and the ruthless pursuit of national interests, diminish any prospects of a more fruitful engagement with faith-based movements.


Religious Tradition Public Reason Comprehensive Doctrine Religious Believer Religious Movement 
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© David West 2016

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  • David West

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