But in Why I Am Not a Secularist, distinguished political theorist William E. Connolly argues that secularism, although admirable in its pursuit of freedom and . Why I Am Not a Secularist. By William E. Connolly. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, p. $ – Volume 94 Issue 2 – J. Donald Moon. Why I Am Not a Secularist has 43 ratings and 2 reviews. Katie said: I really enjoyed this book. Connolly provides a unique perspective on themes in secul.

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Why I Am Not a Secularist

In response, he crafts a new model of public life that more accurately clnnolly the needs of contemporary politics. This is a first-rate book by one of the most creative political theorists in the country.

Why I Am Not a Secularist is powerful and original. Many liberal secularists decry this trend, rejecting any interaction between politics and religion.

Connolly argues that secularism, although admirable in its pursuit of freedom and diversity, too often undercuts these goals through its narrow and intolerant understandings of public reason. Then, while elaborating an ethos of engagement that appreciates this element, he examines capital punishment, the War on Conno,ly, the liberal idea of the nation, the public role of atheism, and the right to die.

The traditional formulations of secularism, Connolly contends, underestimate the vitality and complexity of real-life political judgments. At its best, secularism remains immodest in its claim to provide the authoritative basis for public reason; at its worst, it overlooks possibilities for selective collaboration between religious and nonreligious perspectives in xecularist.

To correct these limitations, Connolly advances a bold new vision of public diversity that acknowledges questions about its own ideology, incorporates a wider variety of ethical views, and honors the desire of believers and nonbelievers alike to represent their faiths openly in the civic forum.


Throughout this provocative volume, Connolly presents convincing evidence of the need to refashion secularism to foster a more responsive public life and a more generous political culture. Connolly is professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University.

There is something profoundly moving about Connolly’s effort to rethink the secularism that formed him, to call into question progressive shibboleths that have long appeared as the only possible counters to forces of reaction and conservatism, and to confront problems such as capital punishment and the phenomenon of evil without reliance on the handmaidens of secular rationalism, cynicism, or humanism. Along the way, Connolly offers some of the finest critiques of Habermas and Rawls yet penned, as well as brilliant diagnoses of contemporary political cultural formations.

William E. Connolly, Why I Am Not a Secularist – PhilPapers

This is a work of political theory that is brave, soulful, and profound. It is also devastatingly smart, funny, politically incisive and written in an appealing style that is at once conversational and rigorous. Barbara Herrnstein Eecularist, author of Belief and Resistance: Connolly demonstrates how far we still have to go to understand what it means to live in a democratic society, and some of his ideas will help us come to grips with these vital and unresolved issues.

This is the latest in a series of works in which Connolly has been interrogating liberalism and its fellow travelers.

Why I Am Not a Secularist — University of Minnesota Press

Connolly argues that although secularism has made great contributions to the promotion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the acceptance of diversity, its response to contentious public issues has been dogmatic and exclusionary.

He believes that in dealing with controversial issues such as the death penalty, the right to die, and the war on drugs, secularism has failed to recognize the complexity of public views because it has excluded religious and theistic viewpoints.


In doing so, he claims that it has ignored an opportunity to create public consensus. He argues further that the narrowness of the secularist vision has helped to increase support for the death penalty, which he himself opposes.

He lauds the political virtues of critical responsiveness, agnostic respect, and studied indifference in relations between independent constituencies. The author projects an ideal, multidimensional pluralism in which various ethnic, social, religious, and faith groups seek space in a globalized, seculariwt universe.

Connolly has articulated a powerful case for a pluralist ethos that is respectful of the essential contestability of social reality and cultivates a generous and forbearing attitude towards political and philosophical differences among various collectivities.

A closely argued and elegant work. University of Minnesota Press Coming soon. Home Current Catalogs Blog. Search Site only in current section. Why I Am Not a Secularist Challenges the limitations of traditional secularism. This book deserves careful consideration.

An Atheist and William Connolly

Social Origins of Religion A classic work that provides an essential donnolly for the study of the sacred. Skepticism, Individuality, and Freedom The Reluctant Liberalism of Richard Flathman Major thinkers grapple with the challenge of this renowned liberal thinker.

Scientific Pluralism The defining work about a hotly contested scientific topic. Political Matter Technoscience, Democracy, and Public Life An engaging collection that explores the cknnolly of material objects.