All Nightmares Back: Dependency and Independency Theories, Religion, Capitalism, and Global Society

Hauke Brunkhorst

in Crediting God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233199
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823233212 | DOI:
All Nightmares Back:               Dependency and Independency Theories, Religion, Capitalism, and Global Society

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This chapter explores the democratic approach to secularization—a discussion of the theories in favor and against democracy's dependence on religion. Modern democracy combines the radical ideas of social justice and solidarity issuing out of monotheistic religions together with a dependence on legalism that is derived from Roman and neo-Roman republicanism. For this reason, it is not possible to construe modern democracy simply as being either dependent or independent from religion. The chapter discusses Rorty's postmodern account of why democracy is independent from religion, in which religious content is deprived of any truth-content but is given an “ironical” use for the purpose of expanding circles of solidarity, and compares it with the accounts of dependency found in Benjamin and Schmitt, in which the utopian or messianic aspect of democracy trumps the legal and constitutional form of the same. It offers an account of Habermas's theory of communicative action as a way of bridging these two extremes. Habermas's view allows us to take seriously the validity claims of theology, and so opens up the Enlightenment from its own danger of closure and from turning into an ideology, that is, a particularistic viewpoint imposed as a universalistic one.

Keywords: secularization; modern democracy; religion; theology; Habermas; Rorty; Benjamin; Schmitt

Chapter.  7596 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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