Wednesday, July 23, 2003

This is written by Navid ; my brother.

Immanuel Kant's notion of "True Liberty" in a Secular State(1)


Immanuel Kant, in his Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, argues for separation of religion and state, an ideology known as secularism. He claims that the human being needs a condition of "true liberty" in which the universal faculty of "reason" would be rendered capable of discovering "moral law" and "pure religion." This claim enabled him to argue for secularism. He asserts that only in a condition of "true liberty" individuals can access their inner true potential; consequently, he claims that no outer force is capable of providing such a possibility. Therefore, he believes that excluding religion, as an established controlling power, from the political sphere is imperative in order to achieve the state of "true liberty." This argument constitutes the underpinning of the secular thesis, the foundation of the contemporary political discourse.
In this paper, I will argue that secularization thesis not only suffers ideologically, but itself becomes an oppressive framework and therefore unable to deliver its promise of "true liberty." Also, I will demonstrate that this foundation has some serious consequences in our contemporary political discourse.

First, however, I would like to elaborate on Kant's argument and his rationale.

Kant believes that it is the individual's responsibility to work his way towards "pure religion." He accordingly argues that in order to accomplish such a task a type of inner feelings of duty within the individual needs to be created. He believes that this inner quality is the only route to salvation. Consequently, any other force, which would impose certain qualities on the human being, has no merit since it would not change the inner. He states, "[T]here is absolutely no salvation for human beings except in the innermost adoption of genuine moral principles in their disposition." He refers to any other attempts to achieve this state as a "perversity," and goes on to say that, "to interfere with this adoption is surely not the so often blamed sensibility but a certain self-incurred perversity." He believes that this "innermost adoption of genuine moral principles" is a gradual reform.

(posted by Farid)

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