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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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Religion and State

Religion and State

(p.80) 4 Religion and State
Religion and Public Reasons

John Finnis

Oxford University Press

This chapter reflects philosophically and historically, not theologically, on the problem of religion and state, including a substantial discussion of the natural law elements in the decree Dignitatis Humanae of the Second Vatican Council on the human right to freedom from coercion in religious matters. The chapter begins with a brief statement of two arguments for the existence of God, and a sketch of the reasons not to accept Hume's arguments against miracles (and revelation), or Leiter's assertion that religion is contrasted with reason, or Dworkin's claim that the constitutional right to religious freedom is based on the good of self-determination or self-respect, or the assumption that Gospel prophecies of the fall of Jerusalem should be presumed to have been made up after the event. The chapter's political-philosophical half focuses on what laws and policies would be appropriate in a state controlled by adherents of sound philosophy and religion; the implications for more deeply divided societies emerge along the way. The discussion engages with Pope Benedict's Regensburg address, European courts' rulings on Muslim dress, and Joseph Boyle discussion of Dignitatis Humanae.

Keywords:   existence of God, miracles, religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, Hume, Brian Leiter, Dworkin, prophecies, religion and reason

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