A Secular Manifesto for Europe
26 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2015 Last revised: 30 Nov 2016
Date Written: March 5, 2015
Charlie Hebdo’s tragedy shows the extent to which France and Europe face a double threat: on one hand fundamentalist religion, on the other negative secularism. France is a paradigm example of negative secularism, which attempts to discredit religion altogether only provoking a backlash effect. I propose instead that France and Europe should subscribe to a positive understanding of secularism that can be understood either as a political or as an ethical project. Either way, the point of positive secularism is to distance itself from religion in order to embrace diversity of all types, religious and non-religious. Political secularism relies on the hope of reaching overlapping consensus between religious and non-religious people. Ethical secularism aims instead to protect diversity by promoting the establishment of a marketplace of religions, which acknowledges a public role for religion while regulating it. The marketplace of religions promotes religious pluralism and helps to iron out the different treatments between religions. Ethical secularism aims to be a worldview of worldviews that creates the preconditions for all religious and non-religious people to live well together.
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