Chapter

‘A Communion in Good Living’: Human Dignity and Religious Liberty beyond the Overlapping Consensus

Joel Harrison

in Understanding Human Dignity

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2013 | ISBN: 9780197265642
Published online January 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191760389 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.003.0026

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

‘A Communion in Good Living’: Human Dignity and Religious Liberty beyond the Overlapping Consensus

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Can a religious tradition translate its language and beliefs into a shared ‘political’ conception of human dignity, one which views religious liberty as part of a general focus on equal concern and respect? This chapter argues that recent arguments for such a translation fail to account for the distinct ways in which different political and social ‘imaginaries’ deploy dignity and religious liberty. It examines two views. First, writing from within the liberal egalitarian tradition emphasising the individual’s capacity for self-definition as the heart of human dignity. Second, Christian personalist arguments emphasising the person as a ‘gift’ to social wholes, pursuing an inter-personal quest for true human ends. The chapter suggests that the latter view offers resources for a revitalized understanding of religious liberty.

Keywords: religious liberty; secular reason; social imaginary; personal autonomy; associations; personalism

Chapter.  6721 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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