Philosophy and Theology

Volume 34, Issue 1/2, 2022

Henrik Friberg-FernrosOrcid-ID
Pages 137-166

Leaving Naturalism Behind
Making the Case for Grounding Liberalism in Theism

The aim of this paper is to encourage liberals to reconsider whether liberalism needs to be compatible with naturalism—as is demanded by public reason liberalism—by showing the comparative cost of that and the advantages of grounding liberalism in theism, which is the main alternative to naturalism. The reason why theism provides better grounds for defending liberalism than naturalism does, is that justifying human freedom and equality—which are core values of liberalism—in a robust way, requires metaphysical assumptions that cohere better within a theistic rather than naturalistic framework. More specifically, I argue that liberals should adopt agent-causal libertarianism (ACL) and favor what I will call an endowment account of equality (EAE). Both ACL and EAE are best supported by postulating theistic and theistic-friendly assumptions about the human nature.