Magazine article New Internationalist

The Secular Outlook in Defense of Moral and Political Secularism

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Secular Outlook in Defense of Moral and Political Secularism

Article excerpt

The Secular Outlook In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism by Paul Cliteur (Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 9781444335217)

We live, unarguably and lamentably, in times of increasing religious intolerance and increasing religious violence. As Paul Cliteur says in his cogent and timely book, the secular state and philosophical secularism are under global challenge by militant religion, which often displays a willingness to use terror to achieve its goals.

In contrast to the polemic of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchins, Cliteur adopts an analytical approach. He is willing to define his terms but does not set out to 'defend' atheism. Rather, he argues that, despite the rise of religious fanaticism, it is possible for believers and nonbelievers to coexist in social harmony, and he provides a convincing sketch of the sort of society in which this would be possible. …

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