A Secular Manifesto for Europe

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The article argues that secularism in Europe needs to be fundamentally reconsidered. Everywhere European secular states face a double threat: On one hand fundamentalist religion, on the other negative secularism. Firstly, the paper explains negative secularism and the reason it is a problem rather than an asset. It then elaborates a new conception of positive secularism that can be understood either as a political or as an ethical project. Either way, the point of positive secularism is to distance itself from religion in order to embrace diversity of all types, religious and non-religious. Political secularism, however, relies on an elusive hope of reaching overlapping consensus between religious and non-religious people. Ethical secularism aims instead to protect diversity by promoting the establishment of a marketplace of religions, which acknowledges a public role for religion while regulating it. The marketplace of religions promotes religious pluralism and helps to iron out the different treatments between religions. Ethical secularism aims to be a worldview of worldviews that creates the preconditions for all religious and non-religious people to live well together.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-183
JournalThe Law & Ethics of Human Rights
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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