Two of the worlds great contemporary thinkers - theologian and churchman Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and Jürgen Habermas, philosopher and Neo-Marxist social critic - discuss and debate aspects of secularization, and the role of reason and religion in a free society. The work was published in German in under the title The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion under the supervision of the head of the. Editorial Reviews. Review. Is a public culture of reason and ordered liberty possible in our The Dialectics Of Secularization - Kindle edition by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Jurgen Habermas. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device.


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These insightful dialectics of secularization are the result of a remarkable dialogue between the two men, sponsored by the Catholic Academy of Bavaria, the year before Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope. June 18, is a philosopher and sociologist.

He was professor of philosophy at the universities of Heidelberg and Johann Wolfgang Goethe in Frankfurt. He has spoken on many crucial subjects, including sexual consumerism, roles of men and women today, marriage, dialectics of secularization priesthood, and the future of the world.


As a teenager, he initiated study of classical languages and entered the minor seminary in Traunstein in Though he was drafted into the Dialectics of secularization anti-aircraft corps inhe re-entered the seminary inwhen World War II ended.

He also received his doctorate in theology in from the University of Munich. In other words, must a constitutionally-defined free state justify its ethical norms with an antecedent, universal claim for truth and, thus, compromise its own claim of a neutral world view?

On the other dialectics of secularization, how can any religion which does make universal claims justify those claims in a manifestly plural world without bending towards intolerance, injustice and, in the extreme case, acts of terrorism?

Instead, dialectics of secularization, both men promote the limits of their respective positions, succeeding in the difficult but worthwhile balancing act of criticizing the presumptuous over-reach of their own tradition while still articulating unwavering conviction.

Can they renew normative presuppositions from their own resources?

Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion - Logos Bible Software

The democratic process is legitimate because it depends not on dialectics of secularization claim but on the constant, corrective communication between the collective decisions of citizens and legislation which guarantees those citizens basic liberal and political dialectics of secularization.

These two partners in the process — the legislating citizens and the law itself — satisfy the secular, democratic conditions of both inclusivity and reason.


Habermas does not claim democracies are perfect or that they eliminate inequality altogether; he simply says that they can maintain legitimacy without having to ground themselves in any singular world-view or metaphysical understanding.

However, he admits, there is a catch. Democracies demand the solidarity and commitment of their citizens to the process itself. And as society has increasingly become a global society beyond the boundaries dialectics of secularization particular political systems, and as the global economy is only minimally constrained by the dialectics of secularization system, citizens are losing hope in the process itself.

The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion by Jürgen Habermas and Joseph Ratzinger

There is, currently, no dialectics of secularization which can guarantee human rights in the global sphere.

Therefore, the secular state is beginning to break apart as people increasingly feel compelled to act in their own self-interest. And the external threat of states and citizens not committed to democracy only increases this de-stabilization, he says.

Habermas does not give dialectics of secularization at this point, though. He does not say that the secular forces of communicative reason do not work in a dialectics of secularization, plural society. And, he also says, reason has its limits and must become aware of them. More than acknowledge the existence of religions and respect the possibility of various claims, however, Habermas admits that there is something to learn from religious traditions, something which reason does not provide, something with substance.

Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion

When secular systems can learn to do this — to internalize contributions of religious traditions and to not ignore the individual voices which claim religious convictions, then they can begin the process of having those individuals trust in the democratic process, even if in doing so they have to give up the idea dialectics of secularization a post-metaphysical society in favor of a post-secular one.

For the uniting bond of the secular democratic process depends on the faith and commitment of the people to that process. Ratzinger, for his part, did not dialectics of secularization his own religion or any metaphysical basis as the legitimating force behind western democracies.

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Neither, however, did he agree that the secular forces of communicative reason should be treated as an open, empirical question: Ratzinger opens his discussion with a brief analysis on the dynamics dialectics of secularization power and law.

The law, he says, dialectics of secularization be the arm of the strong; for law is the only thing built strong enough to oppose those with power.

The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion by Jürgen Habermas and Joseph Ratzinger

It offers strength to those that are weak, it is the antithesis of violence because dialectics of secularization true function of the law is equality for all. Democratic systems of law, he says, are now under suspicion, not because they have never had legitimating force but because those veteran forces are no longer suited to what he sees are new vulnerabilities in society.

The pace of global interconnectedness is quickening; world views are colliding at an alarming rate and with those collisions comes a fear of losing what is most precious to each world view.

But where Habermas dialectics of secularization that people of religious world views can come to trust in the protection of secular systems, Ratzinger suggests dialectics of secularization those systems of reason may now be defunct.

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