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Faith in the public realmControversies, policies and practices$
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Adam Dinham, Robert Furbey, and Vivien Lowndes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420305

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420305.001.0001

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date: 22 August 2017

Controversies of ‘public faith’

Controversies of ‘public faith’

Chapter:
(p.20) (p.21) Two Controversies of ‘public faith’
Source:
Faith in the public realm
Author(s):

Robert Furbey

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847420305.003.0002

This chapter investigates some basic philosophical, theological and socio-political controversies that underpin the place of faith in the public realm. It considers two relevant questions: Should religious faith have an organised presence in the public realm? What are, and what might be, the consequences of a faith presence? Specifically, the chapter addresses a strong secularist critique of ‘public religion’ in the UK. It examines the strong secularist stance of Sam Harris, A.C. Grayling and Christopher Hitchens who strongly argued that: first, religion is irrational and at odds with science and evidence-based dialogues; second, religion is a source of conflict and division; and third, religion is oppressive and a hindrance to free speech, political democracy and personal liberty as well as a threat to neutral public secular space.

Keywords:   faith, public realm, religious faith, secularist critique, public religion, Sam Harris, A.C. Grayling, Christopher Hitchens, religion

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