Durham & Thayer, “Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference”

In August, Routledge will release “Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference,” by W. Cole Durham, Jr. (Brigham Young University)  and Donlu Thayer (Brigham Young University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference brings together vital and thoughtful contributions treating aspects of mounting worldwide tensions concerning the routlogorelationship between religious diversity and social harmony. Religious pluralism can contribute to tensions in employment, media coverage of religion, and public life generally. Experts from North and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East address these issues and suggest not only how social institutions can reduce tensions, but also how religious pluralism itself can bolster needed civil society.

Lewis on Religious Freedom, the Common Good and the Contraception Services Mandate

V. Bradley Lewis (Catholic U. of America) has posted Religious Freedom, the Good of Religion and the Common Good: The Challenges of Pluralism, Privilege and the Contraceptive Services Mandate. The abstract follows.

The right to religious freedom is properly grounded in religion’s status as a fundamental and irreducible human good, which is nevertheless related to other goods and social in character. Its protection for persons and groups is therefore also a component of the common good of political society. After arguing for these propositions on broadly Thomistic philosophical grounds, the article discuses and answers three recent challenges. The first is based on a perceived conflict between recognition of the good of religion and pluralism and I argue that this objection can be met by distinguishing between different kinds of pluralism, most of which pose no problem to the thesis. A second objection comes from those outside the Thomistic tradition, who either reject the status of religion as a good deserving of explicit legal recognition and protection or accept it on inadequate grounds. The objections, I argue, are based on accounts of religion that are inadequate to the role it plays in sound practical reason. Finally, I discuss an argument from those within the Thomistic tradition who accept some limitations on religious freedom in the name of the common good. This third challenge is linked to the current controversy over the application of the US federal government’s insurance mandate to religious organizations and the US Catholic bishops’ response to it as an issue of religious freedom. Here I argue that the objection is based on a misunderstanding and misapplication of Aquinas’s account.

Upcoming Lecture: Volf on Exclusivist Faith in a Pluralist World

The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College lists an upcoming lecture: Religious Exclusivism and Pluralism as a Political Project (Boston College, March 14, 2012, at 5:30 PM).  This lecture, by Miroslav Volf, professor at Yale Divinity School and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, will explore the challenges of a world in which interfaith encounters are increasingly unavoidable.

It goes without saying that in the modern world—both within nations and in the global arena—persons of different religions encounter one another and interact, conduct politics, and do business more and more often, even as their beliefs express exclusive and universal validity.  How, asks Professor Volf, do we then co-exist constructively in a pluralistic society of exclusivist faiths?

Please read the Boisi Center’s abstract of Professor Volf’s lecture, as well as its biography of the professor, after the jump.  (Likewise, see this post on Volf’s recent book, A Public Faith, by CLR’s Professor Movsesian.) Read more