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August 26, 2013

"Is Secularism Unprincipled?"

The concluding lines of this interesting post, by Ian Pollock ("Is Secularism Unprincipled?"), are both bracing and refreshing (if a bit troubling, too):

Seen in this light, it is obvious why secularism cannot really be principled. It is an attempt to consign certain groups of sincere but deluded religious believers to a rhetorical sandbox.

Sometimes a matter of great practical import must override a matter of principle, however. The philosophically correct picture, as far as I can see, is a public policy debate in which any argument (religious or not) is permitted, and there is no false distinction between religious and secular questions. The sanity of the majority prevails, epistemically bad views lose to epistemically good ones in the marketplace of public opinion, and we all ride our unicorns into the sunset.

We should probably just stick with the old, unprincipled hack. But let us at least be honest with ourselves about what it is.

Or . . . we could join Pope Benedict XVI and others in endorsing "healthy secularism", or secularism, properly understood! 

Posted by Rick Garnett on August 26, 2013 at 08:28 PM in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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