Classifying communities and their practices and values as ‘religious’ often has the effect of marginalising them from the mainstream of public debates on justice and the proper ends of the good life, says scholar Timothy Fitzgerald. Such classification has the effect of clothing secular reason with the misleading aura of neutral objectivity, he suggests.
The problem for Christians today is not primarily 'aggressive secularism', but the confusion of Christianity with power, says Simon Barrow. That and the the distortion of public debate about religiosity and secularity into a false dichotomy between dominating belief or privatised belief. A better way is needed - based on living by example, not the lust for control.
Many Americans and Europeans are taken aback by the suggestion that collaborating with religious groups on matters of shared concern is a necessity for human flourishing in many parts of the world, says Scott Appleby. They shouldn't. Both bridge-building and bridge-burning wear many labels in today's world, secular and religious. Literacy and engagement are needed to distinguish the positive from the negative, not hardened ideology.
The non-religious as well as the religious fight amongst themselves, Mark Vernon observes. But in questioning, they are all the better for it, provided that plural thoughtfulness can overcome intolerant rationalism.
Church leaders and Christian activists are being urged to voice their commitment to being agents of change and inclusion to the Cabinet Minister responsible for the government's community agenda, at a Faithworks Conference later this year.
At the root of death-dealing religion and ideology is fear, says Simon Barrow. The biggest challenge we face today is how to challenge cultures of death from within, replacing the logic of the sword with an invitation to life.
The determination of some religious and anti-religious people to blame each other for the world's evils is part of a damaging drift to fanaticism, argues Simon Barrow. What we all need is self-critique and hopefulness.
Readers of The Independent newspaper were yesterday surprised to see a paid-for advert by God urging US President Bush to stop wrecking the planet. So far no-one has claimed responsibility for the divine intervention.