Chapter

Controversies of ‘public faith’

Robert Furbey

in Faith in the public realm

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420305
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302285 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420305.003.0002
Controversies of ‘public faith’

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This chapter investigates some basic philosophical, theological and socio-political controversies that underpin the place of faith in the public realm. It considers two relevant questions: Should religious faith have an organised presence in the public realm? What are, and what might be, the consequences of a faith presence? Specifically, the chapter addresses a strong secularist critique of ‘public religion’ in the UK. It examines the strong secularist stance of Sam Harris, A.C. Grayling and Christopher Hitchens who strongly argued that: first, religion is irrational and at odds with science and evidence-based dialogues; second, religion is a source of conflict and division; and third, religion is oppressive and a hindrance to free speech, political democracy and personal liberty as well as a threat to neutral public secular space.

Keywords: faith; public realm; religious faith; secularist critique; public religion; Sam Harris; A.C. Grayling; Christopher Hitchens; religion

Chapter.  7402 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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