Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Habermas on Religion in the Public Square

Jurgen Habermas is probably the most important philosopher and social theorist in post-WWII Europe. Since the 1960's he has been writing on crucial issues of social and political life in Western Europe (and then all of Europe) from a social democratic perspective. In recent years, after having written or said little in the past on the topic of religion before around 2000,since then he's given a good deal of attention to the issue of religion in the public square. This piece, which addresses this issue, provides a good reflection on the issues as he raises them. What role should religious perspectives play in a modern democratic society? Habermas, who conversed with then-Cardinal Ratzinger on these topics, recognizes the role that the Christian tradition played in establishing many of the norms that have come to govern Western societies (and by extension, influence the East as well). A thoughtful and though-provoking piece on continuing issues of great importance.

BTW, I'd don't know that he's improved, but I tackled some Habermas many years ago, and the reading was not light, so say the least. He is, after all, a German academic!

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