- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (June 23, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0816633320
- ISBN-13: 978-0816633326
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why I Am Not a Secularist Paperback – June 23, 2000
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From Library Journal
Connolly (political science, Johns Hopkins Univ.), the author of several books on political philosophy, argues in this difficult, densely reasoned treatise that although secularism has made great contributions to the promotion of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the acceptance of diversity, its response to contentious public issues has been dogmatic and exclusionary. He believes that in dealing with controversial issues such as the death penalty, the right to die, and the war on drugs, secularism has failed to recognize the complexity of public views because it has excluded religious and theistic viewpoints. In doing so, he claims that it has ignored an opportunity to create public consensus. He argues further that the narrowness of the secularist vision has helped to increase support for the death penalty, which he himself opposes. Connolly uses academic jargon liberally and repeatedly refers to famous philosophers. Of interest primarily to university and large public libraries.AJack Forman, Mesa Coll. Lib., San Diego
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Drawing on Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze, and Arendt, William Connolly has become one of liberalisms deepest and most original critics today. -- American Political Science Review
The author projects an ideal, multidimensional pluralism in which various ethnic, social, religious, and faith groups seek space. -- Choice --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
By the title, Connolly, who admits that he is a secular liberal, declares himself not to be a secular-ist, in the sense of a dogmatic, close minded person who will not be happy until every vestige of religiosity is removed from the public square. It is refreshing that Connolly makes this admission, rather than pretending that he has no ideology, only his adversaries do. He tries to create a space where dialogue can occur between secularists and religionists. He does so partly out of concern for his own side, the secularists, because he thinks that the religionists have 'stolen' the visceral, passionate side to many public arguments, while liberals are then 'stuck' with the merely rational arguments, although this is at best a backhanded compliment to the religious.
Connolly, citing John Mill and others, shows how the enlightenment did develop, only could have developed, and still lives off of the moral capital, of the Christendom it replaced.
In chapter 6, entitled "An Ethos of Engagement," Connolly proposes various exercises which he hopes would create better dialogue between secularists and religionists, rather than the dialogue of the deaf which we now have. He calls for more openness, to admitting that some or all of your own beliefs are contestable and desanctifiable. Fine. But then on pp. 146-147, he gives only one example, a lengthy description of how one who began the engagement rock solid against assisted suicide could become more 'open' to it, until you are positively for assisted suicide. No examples of anyone entertaining liberal positions transcending them to become more conservative. Lest one doubt Connolly's left credentials, there are extended chapters against capital punishment and William Bennett, not to say the former for the latter!
If you can find this in a library, read the introduction and first chapter; the rest is predictable liberal micro-politics.
However, it behooves Western religionists to sympathize more with its 'child', enlightened secularism, and their mutual grandchildren, the physical sciences, representative democracy, the use of reason and not blind fideism.
And it behooves Western secularists to be more appreciate of Western religionists, who are of a benign variety and who have long given up the idea of forcibly controlling those area of society properly secular, as mandated in the Catholic church since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's, so as better to understand and withstand a culture which makes no such concessions, like Islam.