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Value Pluralism and Monotheism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2014

George Crowder*
Affiliation:
Flinders University
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: George Crowder, School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001Australia. E-mail: george.crowder@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

How far can monotheism be reconciled with the pluralism characteristic of modern societies? In this article, I focus on the “value pluralism” of Isaiah Berlin, which I suggest captures a deeper level of plurality than Rawls's more familiar version of pluralism. However, some critics have objected that Berlinian pluralism is too controversial an idea in which to ground liberalism because it is profoundly at odds with the monotheism professed by so many citizens of a modern society. I argue that monotheists can be value pluralists as long as they do not insist that their faith is superior to all others. This pluralist position is exemplified by elements of the interfaith movement, according to which many religions are recognized as having roughly equal value. I also argue that a value-pluralist approach to religious accommodation, if it can be achieved, may be more stable than the uneasy combination of disapproval and restraint involved in the more orthodox solution to conflict among religions, toleration.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 2014 

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