Habermas on post-secular society

[Edit note:  On the use of worldview colors from Spiral Dynamics, see here.]

Brilliant integral essay by Habermas on the notion of post-secular society.  In the best sense of the word integral.

Secular society he defines as the European Enlightenment.  When governments in Europe became secular in order to stem the Wars of Religion.  During this period different religious groups continued to exist and in mixed confessional countries (e.g. Habermas’ own Germany) each religion basically self-segregated (in Germany Lutherans in the North, Roman Catholics in the South).  For Habermas this was a uneasy modus vivendi of don’t bother me/I won’t bother you.  But nothing deeper than that.

Habermas critiques both radical multiculturalism (religiously premodern [blue] or culturally postmodern [green]) as well as the ideology of secularism (e.g. Richard Dawkins [orange]) as both unliberal in their formations.  He wants a balance between shared citizenship and cultural difference (yellow holonic social discourse).

His conclusion:

Were secular citizens to encounter their fellow citizens with the reservation that the latter, because of their religious mindset, are not to be taken seriously as modern contemporaries, they would revert to the level of a mere modus vivendi – and would thus relinquish the very basis of mutual recognition which is constitutive for shared citizenship. Secular citizens are expected not to exclude a fortiori that they may discover, even in religious utterances, semantic contents and covert personal intuitions that can be translated and introduced into a secular discourse.

So, if all is to go well both sides, each from its own viewpoint, must accept an interpretation of the relation between faith and knowledge that enables them to live together in a self-reflective manner.

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Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 10:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] This is part and parcel of what Habermas (and others) calls post-secular society. […]


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