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Christians often see the secular as anti–Christian. At the same time, non–religious commentators get nervous about Christians being too “religious” in public and argue that religious and philosophical diversity means that we have to separate religion from politics. But both Christians and their non–religious counterparts misunderstand the secular, confusing it with secularism – a means by which liberal states control and manage religions. In the process, both misconceive the purpose of politics.
Drawing on his latest book – Christ and the Common Life: Political Theology and the Case for Democracy (2019) – Luke Bretherton will set out a vision of democratic politics as a form of neighbour love and argue that the secular, properly understood, is a theological idea which should undermine ideological secularism. Christians can approach the highly charged and polarised politics of the present moment faithfully, hopefully, and lovingly – but only if they accept that politics isn’t a way to achieve ultimate or eternal goals. Instead, amid the inevitable asymmetries of power and diverse traditions of belief, it’s about negotiating a constructive, penultimate common life on which the flourishing of all depends.
The event will be held at Theos, 77 Great Peter Street, SW1P 2EZ on Thursday 20 June, doors open 6.30 for 7pm. Q&A and refreshments will follow the discussion.