Empires of Belief: Why We Need More Scepticism and Doubt in the Twenty-First Century

Empires of Belief: Why We Need More Scepticism and Doubt in the Twenty-First Century

Empires of Belief: Why We Need More Scepticism and Doubt in the Twenty-First Century

Empires of Belief: Why We Need More Scepticism and Doubt in the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

This book challenges all forms of fundamentalism and unexamined belief systems from a philosophical and sceptical viewpoint. Is unquestioning belief making a global comeback? The growth of religious fundamentalism seems to suggest so. For the sceptically minded, this is a deeply worrying trend, not just confined to religion. Political, economic, and scientific theories can demand the same unquestioning obedience from the general public. Stuart Sim outlines the history of scepticism in both the Western and Islamic cultural traditions, and from the Enlightenment to postmodernism. Setting out what a sceptical politics might be like, Empires of Belief argues that we need less belief and more doubt: an engaged scepticism to replace the pervasive dogmatism that threatens our democracies. Key Features:
• New book from the author of the highly successful Fundamentalist World.
• Questions belief systems, including science and technology.
• Intervenes in current debates around terrorism and fundamentalism.
• Explores sceptical thought within different cultural traditions, especially Islam.
• Suggests that scepticism can play a greater role in public and political life.

Excerpt

It is this book's contention that unquestioning belief is pervading global culture, and that the most effective way of countering it is by an engaged scepticism, an open-minded and continually questioning and probing sense of doubt. Unless we can develop this, our democratic lifestyle is under severe threat from the narrow-minded purveyors of dogma. In the current world order we are confronted by an array of what can be called 'empires' of belief. These empires — dominant organisations or groups led by the powerful that exercise dominion over ordinary people — are investing an immense amount of time and effort in trying to dictate how we should think, consume, and behave. Like all empires run by the powerful they have expansionist ambitions and we are all their targets, not just the true believers who have already bought the message in question and can be relied on to do what they are told by their leaders without demur, only too eager to uphold the cause. The dramatic resurgence of religious fundamentalism on an international scale indicates that there is a significant constituency of people receptive to unquestioning belief of the kind that empires traditionally foster, as does the rise of various other kinds of fundamentalism — market, nationalistic, political, ecological, to name some of the most prominent. It is not the least of the ironies connected with such empires that everyone outside one's own empire is to be treated as a non-believer, as if there was not enough, rather than a surfeit of, belief in the world.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.