Secular Fundamentalism, Religious Fundamentalism, and the Search for Truth in Contemporary America
LAW AND RELIGION: A CRITICAL ANTHOLOGY, pp. 317-44, Stephen M. Feldman, ed., New York University Press, 2000
34 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2006
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.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Establishment Clause, Religion Clauses, Religion and Politics
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation