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Talking God: The Legitimacy of Religious Public Reasoning
8th December 2008
What role should religious people play in public life? In particular, should they be permitted to appeal to their own faith commitments in public debate? The majority of commentators appear to think not. Should religious believers wish to participate, they argue, they must use "public reasoning" which, by definition, cannot be religious.
Not so, argues Jonathan Chaplin, in this timely and important essay. Not only is public reasoning not necessarily "secular" but it can be, and often has been, religious.
That will not mean that "confessional candour" has a place in every political discussion. But it does mean that religious people should be at liberty to articulate their core convictions if they wish to, and that the public square should be as open as possible to "God talk". Religious arguments, rightly used, will always enrich political debate.