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Does the toleration of liberal democratic society mean that religious faiths are left substantively intact, so long as they respect the rights of others? Or do liberal principles presuppose a deeper transformation of religion? Does life in democratic society itself transform religion? In Making Religion Safe for Democracy, J. Judd Owen explores these questions by tracing a neglected strand of Enlightenment political thought that presents a surprisingly unified reinterpretation of Christianity by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson. Owen then turns to Alexis de Tocqueville's analysis of the effects of democracy on religion in the early United States. Tocqueville finds a religion transformed by democracy in a way that bears a striking resemblance to what the Enlightenment thinkers sought, while offering a fundamentally different interpretation of what is at stake in that transformation. Making Religion Safe for Democracy offers a novel framework for understanding the ambiguous status of religion in modern democratic society.Read more
- Explores religious transformation within the framework of political theory
- Religious transformation offers a novel window on the development of Enlightenment political thought in England and America
- Is unusual in situating Tocqueville in relation to Enlightenment political thought
Reviews & endorsements
"A study of religion in the advance of liberal political theory culminating in Tocqueville, who changes its place profoundly. J. Judd Owen’s book is distinguished for clarity and eloquence of its own, and because it discerns and borrows from Tocqueville's wisdom."
Harvey Mansfield, Harvard Unviersity, Massachusetts and Senior Fellow, Hoover InstitutionSee more reviews
"Does democracy depend on religion that is reticent and theologically thin? Or does this kind of stripped-down faith lead to a spiritually impoverished society that fails to satisfy the deepest human aspirations? Making Religion Safe for Democracy pursues these timely questions through a searching examination of seminal figures including Hobbes, Locke, Jefferson and Tocqueville. At a time when the relation between democracy and religion is fiercely debated, Owen’s work enriches the national reflection."
Steven D. Smith, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, Co-Executive Director (Institute for Law and Religion) and Co-Executive Director (Institute for Law and Philosophy), University of San Diego School of Law
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- Date Published: October 2016
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781316609316
- length: 182 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 10 mm
- weight: 0.28kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. A third way of religious freedom?: Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Backus, and the struggle for the American soul
2. Hobbes and the roots of religious indifference
3. Locke and the political theology of toleration
4. Tocqueville and the democratization of American religion.
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