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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 36, Issue 3, July 2010

Stefan Rummens
Pages 385-408
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201036321

The Semantic Potential of Religious Arguments
A Deliberative Model of the Postsecular Public Sphere

This paper introduces a distinction between three different kinds of religious arguments. On the basis of a deliberative model of democracy, it is argued that autonomy and identity arguments should be acceptable in public debate, whereas authority arguments should be rejected. This deliberative approach is clarified by comparing it with the exclusionist position of John Rawls on the one hand and the inclusionist position of Nicholas Wolterstorff on the other. The paper concludes with some general remarks about the relation between reason and religion that explain the sense in which a postsecular public sphere also remains a secular one.

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