Religion as a Communicative System: the reasonableness of religious contents in the public sphere

Tarcísio Amorim Carvalho

Resumo


Recently, Jürgen Habermas has dedicated many of his works to the discussion of the relationship between religion and the public sphere, in light of democratic possibilities of mutual learning. He contends that even though religious contents can inspire motions of solidarity, constitutional and legal arrangements should reflect universal, secular reasons only. Drawing on the sociology of religion, I will demonstrate that religious narratives contribute to shape moral views and self-perceptions, impacting on the ways societies define political norms. Assessing the flaws of deontological theories, I resort to an Aristotelian view of democratic justice, whereby historical traditions and religious narratives come to inform the contents of evaluative moral discourses. Analyzing the case of South Africa, where communitarian notions of forgiveness prevailed over retributive justice, I argue that principles of public morality stem from contextual struggles, negotiations and exchange of aesthetic-cognitive meanings. With this in mind, I finalize with a formulation of the concept of religion as a communicative system, affirming the capacity of religious traditions to impart reasons that can be generally accessed and apprehended by participants in historical processes of learning.

Palavras-chave


Communicative Rationality; Postsecularism; Public Reason; Religion and the State.

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