Subverting The Republic

Overview

The relation of religion to politics has been the subject of much recent controversy. In America, this most commonly involves debates about Christianity and political liberalism. Among philosophers this involves the various responses of Rawls and his critics to the Religious Right. Among theologians this involves the debate between Stout and Christian Traditionalists such as Hauerwas. These conversations are hindered by not recognizing the enduring influence of John Locke. Locke responded to the conflicts of his ...
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Overview

The relation of religion to politics has been the subject of much recent controversy. In America, this most commonly involves debates about Christianity and political liberalism. Among philosophers this involves the various responses of Rawls and his critics to the Religious Right. Among theologians this involves the debate between Stout and Christian Traditionalists such as Hauerwas. These conversations are hindered by not recognizing the enduring influence of John Locke. Locke responded to the conflicts of his day by arguing for a particular vision of religious toleration. He attempted to harmonize religious and civic obligations so that the good Christian and the good citizen could always follow the same course. Because of Locke's decisive role in launching political liberalism and his influence on the American founders, he remains an often-overlooked presence in today's debates. Unfortunately, Locke's solution contains certain gaps and can be interpreted in diverse ways. This is supported by two lines of research: a careful study of Locke's texts (especially his Letter Concerning Toleration) and recent work by political theorists (especially Zuckert) showing how the American founding is an amalgam of republicanism and liberalism. This background is used to create a typology of the different political theologies of today's American Christians. Each position can be understood as a particular rethinking of Locke's solution, either in a more 'liberal' or more 'republican' direction. Key representatives are examined for each position in the typology, including Wolterstorff and Neuhaus. This typology provides a clearer picture of today's culture wars and also brings to light certain problems with the political theories of Christians across the political spectrum. Their shared dependence on Locke shows that conservative and liberal Christians have more in common than is often assumed. However, their unspoken assumption that Locke provides a definitive solution allows them to avoid supplying holistic statements of their own political theologies. This leads to one of two pitfalls: Lockean reasoning is invoked in tension with a thinker's other commitments (thus confusing herself) or Lockean reasoning is invoked in ways that disguise a thinker's actual position (thus confusing her fellow citizens).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243762399
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/9/2011
  • Pages: 412
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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