Politics, Pluralism and Religion
BERNIE CANTENS (CONTRIBUTOR) - CHAPTER 14: "IS POLITICAL FORGIVENESS POSSIBLE?"
The chapters in this volume discuss the many facets of pluralism in a liberal democracy, as well as the interplay between religion and politics. Religion is a central theme in this book for two reasons. First, religions often claim to possess truths about the nature of God and the proper path to lead in order to achieve eternal life in heaven, or enlightenment or spiritual liberation. Unfortunately, different religions offer different sets of truths on these issues, which create an obvious competition and rivalry between religions. Historically, religious differences have produced countless wars, violent clashes, human rights violations and various forms of religious persecutions. Our record of coexisting peacefully in a religiously pluralistic world has been abysmal at best. Some chapters in this book discuss religious pluralism, the clash between science and religion and the role religious reasons should play in a public dialogue about public policy and law. The second reason why religion is a prominent theme is that, since religion is constitutive of the identities of so many individuals, its influence on politics, for better or for worse, is extremely significant. Many chapters explore the various ways in which religion can affect politics: From the dangers of theocracy, to Jihadist terrorism, to a Hindu approach to addressing terrorism, to a Unitarian Universalist perspective on ethical eating and to the Christian virtue of forgiveness applied to political dispute resolution. All in all, the chapters in this book represent a variety of approaches to understanding the interrelated problems associated with religion and politics in a pluralistic world.