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Religion and Public ReasonsCollected Essays Volume V$
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John Finnis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580095

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580095.001.0001

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Secularism and ‘The Culture of Death’

Secularism and ‘The Culture of Death’

Chapter:
(p.328) 22 Secularism and ‘The Culture of Death’
Source:
Religion and Public Reasons
Author(s):

John Finnis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580095.003.0023

This chapter was written for a conference in the wake of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae (1995), which spoke of ‘the culture of death’, referring to cultures in which the intending of death is legally or socially accepted. The meaning of ‘culture’ is first considered, and then the influence of secularism (considered in the light of Plato's analysis as in Chapter 3 of this volume, and of Owen Chadwick's tracing of the secularization of the European mind to the axiom that miracles do not happen. Topics considered include creative causality and providence, freedom of choice, dignity, Nietzsche, the significance of intention and its denial by many proportionalist theologians, and secularism by default.

Keywords:   culture of death, Evangelium Vitae, intending death, culture, secularism, miracles, Owen Chadwick, providence, free choice, dignity

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