Monday, September 26, 2005

Jurgen Habermas Swinging to Religion?


In the current issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, is a worrisome article. It suggests that a leading secular philosopher -- J├╝rgen Habermas* -- is shocking his liberal friends by turning to god. Worse, he’s calling for religion to scoot into world politics (and somehow I doubt he’s left any room under that umbrella-word “religion” for the Goddess).

“It would be unrealistic and prejudicial to expect that religiously oriented citizens wholly abandon their most deeply held convictions upon entering the public sphere where, as a rule and justifiably, secular reasoning has become our default discursive mode.”
I do, however, like one thing Habermas says: in a religion, it’s right-on to argue!

“… [T]he give and take of argumentation, as a learning process, is indispensable. Through communicative reason we strive for mutual understanding and learn to assume the standpoint of the other. Thereby we also come to appreciate the narrowness of our own individual perspective. Discourse ethics proposes that those actions are moral that could be justified in an open-ended and genuine public dialogue.”
Especially at this point in the rebuilding of Goddess spirituality, I think this “give and take of argumentation” (with, of course, respect maintained for others) is a Goddess-send.

Then Habermas throws out a thorny issue: the (very popular) idea that everyone must “respect” everyone else’s religion:

“Only those religions that retain the capacity to bracket or suspend the temptations of theological narcissism -- the conviction that my religion alone provides the path to salvation -- are suitable players in our rapidly changing, post-secular moral and political universe.”
Here’s the problem: Some religions are dangerous to both their followers and to the rest of us. As a world community, how should we respond to entities that threaten to destroy us? What should our response be to religions that subjugate and maltreat certain classes of people? To religions that invite worldwide environmental destruction?

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*”Following Jacques Derrida's death last October, it would seem that Habermas has justly inherited the title of the world's leading philosopher. Last year he won the prestigious Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy.”

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thnx to jonathanma for the foto

1 comment:

Gary E. Davis said...

Glad to see you're interested in Habermas.

G.