Law Morality And Religion In A Secular Society Pdf
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Hence it is very evident that the law and religion are dependent on each other because before the concept of state or democracy, people were bound to follow the religious duties and can claim religious rights. Thus in this way religion was playing a very vital role of maintaining law and order in ancient societies at different parts of the world. In this seminar paper I am going to deal with the legal history of world i.
Secular Formatting of the Sacred
Whereas Samuel Moyn has argued that human rights represent the last utopia, sociologist Hans Joas suggests that the modern history of human rights represents a critical alternative to the common theory of secularization understood as disenchantment Weber.
Following Durkheim, Joas understands the sacred within the society as the continuous process of refashioning the ideal society within the real society. Mjaaland argues that the normative and formative functions of human rights are better served by a suspicious genealogy of morals, taking also the problematic aspects of human rights policy into account, including its dependence on new forms of violence and cruelty.
He concludes that a more modest and pragmatic understanding of human rights may therefore strengthen rather than weaken their authority and future influence. The sociologist Hans Joas argues in Die Macht des Heiligen that by studying the place of the sacred within the secular society, we may observe how it interrupts and changes the society from within.
Whereas many nations have constructed the nation as sacred during the 20th century and still do so today, Joas argues that this is a false sacralization, which leads to violence, militarism, and in some cases totalitarianism. According to Joas, human rights represent an alternative to this story of the sacred nation, emphasizing universal humanitarian values and the sacredness of the person , hence also the desacralization of the state Joas Toward the end of this article, I will therefore discuss some of the problems and paradoxes connected to the history of human rights and their contemporary use in international politics.
Moreover, his latest book on the power of the sacred forthcoming in English gives a more detailed argument of his critique of Weber Joas , The concept was coined by Max Weber and used in order to describe a long historical development toward a more natural and secular understanding of the world, from the prophets of the Old Testament up to the modern critique of religion.
However, Joas takes issue with the description of a one-way development toward a secular modern world, when it comes to religion as well as politics. On the other hand, he writes,.
Joas , Moreover, whereas political leaders have often tried to make religion instrumental for dominion and moral control, he argues that religious movements such as the prophets in the Old Testament have often been proponents of secularization in the sense of a stronger separation between the rulers and religious authority Joas , In his book on the power of the sacred, Joas ventures to give a detailed analysis of all the texts where Weber applies the concept of disenchantment.
Based on a comprehensive reading of Weber, Joas concludes that his notion of disenchantment is neither accurate nor appropriate as a description of historical processes. The three terms are not exactly easygoing and would hardly function as standard terms for a historical sociology of religion. Still, Joas argues convincingly that the concept of disenchantment is used idiosyncratically by Weber and even more so by subsequent secularization theorists e.
Berger ; Hence, he claims that the concept is misleading and obfuscates the fact that there are various processes covered by the term, partly working in opposite directions:. However, when we uncover the conceptual ambiguity, the narrative molders and loses its suggestive power.
Thereby, alternative possibilities of interpreting these events present themselves, in particular other possibilities of understanding the history of religion, the future possibilities of Christianity or other religions, and the potential historical power of universalist morality in general.
Joas , ; my translation. Weber has been read as one of the fathers of the so-called secularization thesis, indicating that modern societies are subject to a one-way process toward separation of church and state, privatization of religion, and the thought that religion in general will eventually become superfluous in modern societies. Acknowledging that significant changes have taken place, in particular in Europe, they all reject the thought that secularism follows with historical necessity within a modern society Mjaaland There are numerous examples of public religion in countries such as Poland, Turkey, and the United States, and although religious observance has declined in many European countries, this is by no means a one-way process in the world as a whole Casanova On the contrary, many countries around the world experience religious revivals and new forms of religiosity with a strong political influence in periods of modernization Davie If we look back at the early modern period in Europe, there was a similar ambiguity in relation to processes of modernization Lehmann The period after the Reformation was hardly marked by any decrease in religious observance and influence.
It was a period of religious transformation and consolidation within the emerging confessions. The confessional characteristics and doctrines became strong identity markers between groups and nations, with influence on political ideals, mentality, and jurisdiction, and the subsequent centuries gave numerous examples of suppression and persecution of religious minorities, and wars along confessional lines of division Lehmann , Weber was obsessed with the thought that such differences in mentality could explain the emerging capitalism, but his broad historical hypothesis also included references to the even broader narrative of disenchantment Joas , However, there are hardly any examples of straightforward or one-way processes with respect to secularization or re- sacralization.
Such processes are always intertwined with other deep structures of historical development, and thus, Joas has a good case when he rejects the broad disenchantment narrative of Max Weber. A peculiar aspect of his argument is that the Catholics are presented as superstitious because they believe in the transubstantiation of the sacramental elements in the Eucharist. Conversely, the Protestant denominations, and the Calvinists in particular, are successful in trading and accumulating capital because they believe in immanent and rational laws for giving and taking, on egalitarian terms.
Lehmann Weber identifies such changes as early as by the prophets of Israel, in contrast to the Chinese Confucians. The early 20th century is obsessed with political and spiritual secularization, and Weber adopts the narrative as an irrefutable straw man argument in favor of his contemporary sociological observations. Hans Joas, by contrast, claims that there is hardly any empirical evidence that the world has become less religious over the last centuries and that religion has lost its influence on political issues.
On the contrary, there are tendencies toward increased emphasis on religion in the political sphere if we look beyond the western European and North American exception: The sacralization of politics, indeed of the state, is a recurring tendency in modern history Davie Hence, Joas follows Durkheim in the assumption that every creation of a society or state is accompanied by an image of the ideal state and that this ideal formation is considered as sacred:.
A society can neither create itself nor recreate itself without at the same time creating the ideal. This creation is not a kind of optional step, a finishing touch that society adds once it has been formed; it is the act by which it fashions and refashions itself periodically […] The ideal society is not outside the real society; it is part of it. Durkheim , He argues in favor of a Durkheimian understanding of sacredness and sacralization.
Following this line of thought, any society would be in the process of producing the symbols and images of the ideal society within the real society. This is in accordance with the way Hans Joas thinks about sacredness: an ideal that formats society from within — morally, politically, religiously, and ideologically.
Rather than drawing on the contested notion of values, as he has done in earlier texts, he has now turned to the Kantian notion of an ideal formation or even an ideal fact. For Joas, any realistic ideal for a future society needs to include the sacred in one way or another, not exclusively in the form of an established religion , but even new forms of collective sacralization secular or not tend to transform or reformat religious patterns.
In the case of Europe, he still sees Christianity as a significant factor in forming the future society. Second, he questions the need for a de-transcendentalization as an expression of modern self-understanding. On the contrary, he advocates either a religious or a Kantian understanding of transcendence that remains a critical corrective to human and national hubris. This second step is significant in order to leave a space for the sacred beyond the individual and yet within the state.
Third, and most significantly, he rejects the narrative of a general desacralization, arguing that secularization and re- sacralization cannot be — and historically never were — mutually exclusive. Normatively, he therefore supports a desacralization of the state that gives space for a resacralization of the person. This is the point where human rights come to play a key role as expression of a normative ideal transcending the individual as well as the nation, and this double movement is what I perceive as a secular formatting of the sacred cf.
What is, more precisely, the theory of an Axial Age? How does it influence, respectively, the narratives of disenchantment and secularization? But on the other hand, both the crucial terms here, both the transcendent and the human good, are reconceived in the process. Taylor , As we can see here, the theory is universal and it has a global scope. It covers philosophies and religions as different as Platonism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, and is even extended to other movements in the period from around the sixth to the third century AC.
It is seen as a civilizational step in the process of evolution, indeed even a transcivilizational step including humanity as a whole. Moreover, it is perceived as a step of humankind in the direction of a more humanitarian world, a more humanitarian religion and philosophy, and a less arbitrary use of violence on behalf of the rulers. In the discussion of a theory of the Axial Age, there are critical voices too.
The philosopher of religion Ingolf Dalferth has described it as a normative reinterpretation of Platonism for the 20th century Dalferth , Two of the key notions emerging in the period of the Axial Age are the concept of transcendence and the concept of self-reflexivity.
The latter has strong philosophical and moral consequences, and the former has also political consequences: When societal and religious ideals — including God or gods — are perceived as transcendent, it becomes easier to distinguish between power and sacredness. Through the subsequent process of differentiation, the tension between idea and reality was, according to Hans Joas, intensified. He argues that one important consequence of this process was that religion became an instrument of desacralization rather than the opposite:.
Religion, which could be a powerful instrument of the sacralization of power and domination, particularly in the archaic states, becomes an instrument of the desacralization of this very power. Divine kingship is not compatible with this concept of transcendence. If God or the gods exist beyond the realm of the mundane, it is no longer possible for a ruler himself to be God.
Whether we accept the theory of an Axial Age or not, this observation concerning the role of religion in relation to power is quite important: Religion itself does not necessarily contribute to sacralization of the state or the ruler.
It could also have the opposite impact, and in that case, religion contributes to the distinction between secular and sacred power. Hence, it does not matter that this process of separation is followed by resacralization in other respects.
However, the various nationalisms of the 20th century, including the French, American, and German ones, represent dangers of particularism to this development. The most deterrent examples of such self-sacralization of the state are found in the totalitarian regimes, such as under German, Japanese, and Soviet totalitarian rule, but Joas observes contemporary versions of the same tendency in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Hence, this is not primarily a question of religion versus secularism; it is a modern version of what Durkheim described as the self-sacralization of power and dominion Joas , His understanding of how such values evolve including sacred values was presented in The Genesis of Values Joas His monograph on the genealogy of human rights, called The Sacredness of the Person , follows up on the same topic but with emphasis on human rights as a global and trans-civilizational step toward equality, universal morality, and weakening of political power Joas Summing up this theory, he points out that it demands a desacralization of state and dominion, but not necessarily in terms of a general secularization :.
The history of human rights is a history of sacralization and desacralization. It does not, as secularists often assume, require secularization, an abandonment of the notion of the holiness of God, because this very notion may provide a counterweight to the sacralization of earthly political power.
After the Axial Age and the development of the world religions, Joas sees the development of universal human rights in the 19th and 20th centuries as the second big step of humankind toward a more self-reflexive, universal, and humanitarian moral code. It sacralizes the dignity of every human being rather than the nationalist tendency to glorify the state and its rulers.
Even when he talks about individuals here, Joas underscores that it is the collective understanding of the person that is sacralized. Human rights thus identify the person as sacred and among the millions of persons give dignity to the poorest and most wretched ones. This collective and thus social — even political — formatting of the sacred transcends national borders — hence, its scope is universal and directed toward humankind in general rather than a specific race, nation, or strategic alliance.
This is a beautiful idea with far-reaching consequences for the understanding and placement of human rights, albeit by no means undisputable. There have been many spokesmen of the churches, most prominently Pope Benedict XVI, who would see human rights as a secular version of Christian anthropology and hence as unthinkable without the Christian heritage.
Hans Joas acknowledges a continuity here, but he nevertheless insists that no single religious tradition can make such a claim. Hence, when Joas speaks of human rights as the expression of an ideal fact, it follows from a collective sacralization of the person, transcending each tradition, and yet ideally , it should be compatible with all of them.
It does not contradict processes of secularization in terms of separation of church and state, of sacredness and dominion; on the contrary, it presupposes and enhances such a secularization of power and nation.
Still, it does not represent a one-way movement, since secularization and re- sacralization are intertwined. Defining them as an expression of sacred ideals and sacralization is not so much a question of what human rights were intended to be. They were, perhaps, the fragile expression of some common values after the atrocities of World War II and have more recently been reinvented as the last utopia, as Moyn has argued. From the beginning, they represented an ideal formation and a basis for the establishment of the UN, yet with hardly any political or moral impact beyond their symbolic status.
Law and Religion
Aernout J. Comparative law research regarding the relationship between state and religion often uses models. These models normally run from more to less separation between state and religion. In this article it will be argued that this approach is too simple. The relationship between state and religion has various dimensions. For ages, the relationship between state and religion, more particularly between state and church, has been studied. Nevertheless, thoughts about this relationship have changed.
Dimitris Xygalatas does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. A study we conducted, led by psychologist Will Gervais , found widespread and extreme moral prejudice against atheists around the world. Across all continents, people assumed that those who committed immoral acts, even extreme ones such as serial murder, were more likely to be atheists. Although this was the first demonstration of such bias at a global scale, its existence is hardly surprising. Survey data show that Americans are less trusting of atheists than of any other social group. For most politicians, going to church is often the best way to garner votes, and coming out as an unbeliever could well be political suicide.
Whereas Samuel Moyn has argued that human rights represent the last utopia, sociologist Hans Joas suggests that the modern history of human rights represents a critical alternative to the common theory of secularization understood as disenchantment Weber. Following Durkheim, Joas understands the sacred within the society as the continuous process of refashioning the ideal society within the real society. Mjaaland argues that the normative and formative functions of human rights are better served by a suspicious genealogy of morals, taking also the problematic aspects of human rights policy into account, including its dependence on new forms of violence and cruelty. He concludes that a more modest and pragmatic understanding of human rights may therefore strengthen rather than weaken their authority and future influence. The sociologist Hans Joas argues in Die Macht des Heiligen that by studying the place of the sacred within the secular society, we may observe how it interrupts and changes the society from within. Whereas many nations have constructed the nation as sacred during the 20th century and still do so today, Joas argues that this is a false sacralization, which leads to violence, militarism, and in some cases totalitarianism.
LAW, MORALITY AND RELIGION IN A SECULAR SOCIETY · Related. Information · PDF.
Religion and Morality
People often assume that moral and religious convictions are functionally the same thing. But are they? Meta-analytic tests of each of these hypotheses yielded weak support for the secularization hypothesis, no support for the equivalence or political asymmetry hypotheses, and the strongest support for the distinct constructs hypothesis. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The relation between law, morality, and religion in the West has grown progressively more complex and fragmented over the last five hundred years. Historically, two paths emerged in Western thought regarding the relation of transcendent justice and positive law secured in the secular political order. The natural-law tradition followed Platonic philosophy by locating human cognition of true justice in a rational awareness of the divinely sanctioned order of the universe.
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Morality and religion involves the relationship between religious views and morals.
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