24 September 2013

Ronald Dworkin, Religion without God

Foto: John Earle / Suhrkamp Verlag, August 2005
From Stanley Fish, NYT Opinionator: "Dworkin begins boldly in his very first sentence: “The theme of this book is that religion is deeper than God.” Dworkin doesn’t mean that being religious and believing in God are incompatible; he means that the latter is a possible version of, but not the essence of, the former.

"The essence of the religious attitude, he tells us, is the conviction that 'inherent, objective value permeates everything, that the universe and its creatures are awe-inspiring, that human life has purpose and the universe order.' In the grip of that Emersonian conviction, one may or may not subscribe to the existence of a personal God, but it should not be the case that constitutional protection depends on a commitment to theism, for that would be to make the hallmark of religion something that is alien to the lives of many people. It is important for Dworkin’s argument that we not view religion as a special activity that exists to the side of the everyday experience of interacting with and appreciating nature. It is when we identify religion as an anomaly whose precise configuration must be described that we get ourselves into trouble and fall to debating, as religion clause jurisprudence endlessly does, whether this particular ceremony or piece of behavior is 'properly religious.' We should, says Dworkin, abandon 'the idea of a special right with … its compelling need for strict limits and careful definition.' We should 'consider instead applying, to the traditional subject matter of that supposed right, the more general right to ethical independence.'"  Read entire piece by Stanley Fish, NYT.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...