Friday, May 27, 2005

Habermas vs. the Pope: reason and religion

In July 2004, French journal Esprit, published an interesting discussion between JuergenHabermas and Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict the XVI, at the time of the discussion Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Habermas introduces his concept of the post-secular society that is supposed to overcome the illnesses of the classical secular state model. Habermas thinks that the religion should be invited to the public sphere and that what religion has to offer to the society does not have a lesser value than what society gets from science of secular ideology. This does not mean that Habermas supports the construction of the kind of integralist Christian regimes in the Western World. In order to qualify for the participation in the public sphere and the democratic process, like any other ideology, religion will have to fulfil the conditions of Habermas’s communicative democracy.

Ratzinger, on the other hand gives credit to reason as a corrective to the corruption of certain aspects of the religious dogma. Ratzinger asks the question what is the deeper source of the law. The Pope, of course, thinks that religion is still the most powerful force that allows to the majority of the people to be happy and feel saved, however, he allows for the possibility of compromise between raison and law. He reminds of the historical example of the ancient Greece, where the law founded on God lost its credibility and where the ancient Greeks had to investigate other, “deeper” sources of law.

1 comment:

Lev said...

Do you know where can I find an English version of this debate?