Politics and Religion: The Challenge of Religious Diversity

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As we move toward a religiously diverse America, the call to separate religion and politics grows. As Americans head into the future there is a huge immersion of the different religions into one common society. It is becoming a challenge in trying to appease and maintain these different religions in the secular social world.

For some Americans the solution is to remove all religious affiliation from the state. Upon analysis of Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s discussion of religious diversity, Maritain’s position on the relation between religion and the secular world, and Hegel’s presupposition about abstract rights, this common question arises. Should the secular world be isolated from the religious dimensions of Human life? With so much religious diversity among groups of people could government politics function without any religious affiliation and still represent the will of the people as a whole.

In Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s book The Faith of Other Men he starts by describing his challenge as a teacher in Lahore. He mentions that his colleagues were, like the great majority of the students, a mix of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhns. As a Christian he and the rest of the community had to work toward the construction and maintenance of a religiously diverse community. The missionary college emphasized the message that faith was a serious and fundamental matter, that could neither be taken for granted nor dismissed. That message for Smith’s can be echoed in the oversimplified religious society of today. The religious life of humanity according to Smith is one that religiously plural, and this is true for all of us. Muslims, Hindus, Confucians, and Buddhists there no longer these far away peoples but rather they have become our neigh...

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...Hegel fails to address about the common good/ will with religious diversity. (Maritain,14,11-19, 73,75, 76-8)

After looking at philosophy’s of Goerg W.F. Hegel, Wilfred Cantwell Smith and Jacques Maritain clearly society cannot ignore religion. In ignoring religion society would as a result overlook the essence which makes an individual a whole. There can never be a society free of religion, nor can religion be without the secular social world they are intertwined.

Works Cited

Georg W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Mind: Part Three of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), William Wallace trans, (Oxford: the Clarendon Press, 1971).

Jacques Maritain, The Rights of Man and Natural Law, Doris C. Anson trans, (New York: Gordian Press, 1971 [1943]).

Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Faith of Other Men, (New York: New American Library, 1963).
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