Saturday, December 22, 2007

Secular Europe? Think twice

On 21st of Dember, Tony Blair converted to Catholicism: see here;

On the same day, Sarkozy held a speech in front of the Catholic bishops in Rome arguing that religion should play a more important role in the french public sphere: see here;

The time is high to engage in a more robust conversation on the place of religion in the european
public sphere.

A good place to start is The Immanent Frame, an SSRC blog that deals with issues of secularism, religion ant the public sphere

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Still Born God

is a great new book on religion and politics in the West.
Its author, Mark Lilla, is a fantastic scholar in the history of ideas.

The book argues that the West (Europe) was marked by a Great Separation
between political theology and political philosophy. Before Hobbes, European
politics was essentially framed in religious terms. After Hobbes, politics
becomes free from religion. Religious scholarship, as a result, is also profoundly changed.
Instead of focusing on God, it focuses on why men need religion. It is not anymore
about what exist out there, but what we need from inside us.

The book does not attempt to engage on present heated controversies on the role of religion in the public sphere and other such issues. Instead it calmly takes us through a rewarding jouney from the middle-age to the XX century illuminating the relationship between religious and political scholarship.

Highly recommended