Habermas’ post-secular perspective of socio-political integration has had a major formative effect on the debate surrounding the place of religion in present-day pluralist societies. And yet as democracies are currently beset by a new wave of interfaith challenges it would seem that his vision of religious and non-religious citizens publicly engaging in a process of learning and reconciliation through cooperative translation and deliberation would need to be reconsidered and adjusted. This apparent shortcoming may partly be explained by the prevalent Judeo-Christian focus of Habermas’ deliberative model. To what extent, then, is the plurality of political theological contexts—Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and other religious traditions—significant for democratic theory today, for broadening and refining the public reason approach? Should and can the Habermasian vision address more directly the issues of faith, holiness, and Messianism that he has excluded from the philosophical domain? Moreover, in his later writings, Habermas does not seem to take sufficiently into account the relation between religion, violence, and socio-economic domination. The question is how his deliberative model could be extended to address such problems and to what extent post-secularism and capitalism are interconnected. Although Habermas’ primary concern has been the European political project, the connection between his European interventions and his religious “turn” remain insufficiently explored. What is the significance and what are the practical consequences of Habermas’ re-definition of the role of religion in an age of accelerated pluralisation both in Europe and beyond it? The aim of this Special Issue of the European Legacy is to take stock of the diverse intended and perhaps unintended implications of the Habermasian view of religion. More specifically, we are consider perspectives on the role, scope, and ability of Habermasian public reason to meet the new challenges of interreligious dialogue and integration in democratic societies.
- Jürgen Habermas