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Confronting Secularism

Project: Non-funded ProjectResearch

1/04/12 → …

Can secularism continue to provide a foundation for political legitimacy? It is often claimed that one of the cultural achievements of the west has been its establishment of secular democracy, wherein religious belief is respected but confined to the sphere of private belief. In more recent times, however, political secularism has been increasingly called into question. Religious believers, in numerous traditions, have protested against the distortion and confinement that secularism imposes on their faith. Others have become uneasily aware of the way in which secularism no longer commands universal assent in the way it once did. As western secularism experiences a crisis of confidence, where may we look for inspiration and guidance as to the way forward? This book suggests that such a resource may be found in the rich but different tradition of secularism that has developed in Indian thought and practice. By staging an encounter between western and Indian conceptions of secularism, it is hoped that western thinking may inspired to develop its own secular trajectory in creative and innovative ways as one way of addressing the most pressing problems of contemporary times.