Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life

Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public LifeFrom Washington To The Vatican To Tehran, Religion Is A Public Matter As Never Before, And Secular Values Individual Autonomy, Pluralism, Separation Of Religion And State, And Freedom Of Conscience Are Attacked On All Sides And Defended By Few The Godly Claim A Monopoly On The Language Of Morality, While Secular Liberals Stand Accused Of Standing For Nothing.Secular Liberals Did Not Lose Their Moral Compass They Gave It Away For Generations, Too Many Have Insisted That Questions Of Conscience Religion, Ethics, And Values Are Private Matters That Have No Place In Public Debate Ironically, This Ideology Hinders Them From Subjecting Religion To Due Scrutiny When It Encroaches On Individual Rights And From Unabashedly Advocating Their Own Moral Vision In Politics For Fear Of Imposing Their Beliefs On Others.In His Incisive New Book, Philosopher Austin Dacey Calls For A Bold Rethinking Of The Nature Of Conscience And Its Role In Public Life Inspired By An Earlier Liberal Tradition That He Traces To Spinoza And John Stuart Mill, Dacey Urges Liberals To Lift Their Self Imposed Gag Order And Defend A Renewed Secularism Based On The Objective Moral Value Of Conscience.Dacey Compares Conscience To The Press In An Open Society It Is Protected From Coercion And Control, Not Because It Is Private, But Because It Has A Vital Role In The Public Sphere It Is Free, But Not Liberated From Shared Standards Of Truth And Right It Must Come Before Any And All Faiths, For It Is What Tells Us Whether Or Not To Believe In This Way, Conscience Supplies A Shared Vocabulary For Meaningful Dialogue In A Diverse Society, And An Ethical Lingua Franca In Which To Address The World. Dacey opens his introduction with the poem, Incantation, by Czeslaw Milosz And then he states, referring to the self censorship of the media regarding comments about religions, Freedom of thought means nothing unless it implies the right to blaspheme, for blasphemy is a victimless crime Dacey argues for secular liberalism, which he criticizes for having abdicated its public voice, and he champions freedom of conscience over religious law Above all, he calls for public dialogue and reasoned argument about religious issues, particularly when religious perspectives violate fundamental human rights and reason In his first chapter, How Secularism Lost Its Soul, Dacey argues that secularists have succumbed to two fallacies, the Privacy Fallacy and the Liberty Fallacy, the first suggesting that since conscience is personal, it should not be discussed in public, and the second suggesting that there are no objective standards of right and truth He skillfully traces the intellectual history of these ideas, bri
This book is pretty heavy in its philosophy for a general readership, but worth the slog Dacey argues that the problem with modern secular liberalism stems from what he calls the Liberty Fallacy that because matters of conscience are matters of individual Liberty, they re also not open to question or criticism This fallacy results in ethical waffling and a reluctance to criticize ideas from other cultures.By contrast, Dacey argues that religious belief is private, but conscience must be open and up to debate He weaves a long and interesting discussion of the issue, exploring the way that open societies have fostered respect for human beings and a separation of church and state, and that closed societies often violate those two elements He also suggests that regardless of personal reasons, public debate ought to function from a consequentialist perspective, namely that discussions about ethics and morals should focus on the human impact of those decisions He argues for an ethics of the golden rule.Two interesting things emerge at the end of the book.The second to last chapter is a warning call to Europe, particularly, about fundamentalist Islam Dacey argu
I m giving this book a 3 as an average score some parts are pretty good and worth reading ex, the chapter original virtue , and others are not. There are a number of intelligent and thoughtful people in the western world who state as a matter fact, that our laws are grounded in the Judeo Christian tradition President Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope , Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo Christian tradition The suggestion in most such statements is that the basis of the underlying morality and justness of our laws is its Judeo Christian origins Austin Dacey does a fine job of arguing instead that our law are just and moral despite the Judeo Christian traditions Women s rights, abolitionism, tolerance of minority religions are only three of many movements that have their origins in secular thought In The Secular Conscience , the author argues that the origin of the whole set up of a state apparat
As a society, we need to debate issues of conscience and morality Dacey s subtitle, Why Belief Belongs in Public Life, suggests that everyone s opinions both believers and nonbelievers should be heard in the public square However, everyone s beliefs and values should also be debated vigorously in the public square You can to bring your religious values to the debate, but be prepared to defend them according to the usual standards honesty, rationality, consistency,
Lots of good thoughts in the book, plenty to get you thinking Wasn t always impressed with the flow of the writing, and the last few chapters just felt like previous essays he d written and tacked on Overall good I appreciate that Darcy is neither a dogmatic naturalist nor a credulous mystic. I like this guy I was listening to this interview with him Please keep writing Mr Dacey This was a must read for me and picqued my interest in the intersection of religion and politics.

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  • Hardcover
  • 269 pages
  • Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life
  • Austin Dacey
  • English
  • 09 July 2019
  • 9781591026044