Secular Fundamentalism, Religious Fundamentalism, and the Search for Truth in Contemporary America
Daniel O. Conkle
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 12, p. 337, 1995-96
LAW AND RELIGION: A CRITICAL ANTHOLOGY, pp. 317-44, Stephen M. Feldman, ed., New York University Press, 2000
In this article, I suggest that America's ongoing culture war is a product, in part, of an epistemic crisis that confounds our collective search for truth. In a previous article addressing aspects of this topic, I expressed concerns about religious fundamentalism. Here, I explore the ways in which secular thinking might likewise be described as "fundamentalist." In particular, I discuss secular fundamentalism in textual interpretation, secular fundamentalism in the form of political liberalism, and comprehensive secular fundamentalism, which extends to private questions of truth. I then discuss the various problems - not only political, but also theological - that are raised by fundamentalist thinking, whether religious or secular in nature. In place of these various sorts of fundamentalism, I advocate a dialogic, multi-lingual search for truth, a search that would give meaningful consideration to moral arguments of all types - not only in private life, but in the public domain as well.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Establishment Clause, Religion Clauses, Religion and Politics
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 26, 2006
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