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2024 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Which Criticism and Whose Humanism?

Author : William Schweiker

Published in: Religion and Social Criticism

Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland

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Abstract

Richard Miller throughout his works has made an argument for the importance of social and cultural criticism in the work of ethics and drawn especially on arguments in liberal political theory to do so. Lately, he has joined many other scholars, including the author of this chapter, in calling for a form of humanism, what he calls “Critical Humanism.” In this chapter, I set Miller’s arguments in the context of the larger debate about a renewed humanism and isolate key contemporary advocates. In the end, I contend that humanism commits one to a form of hermeneutical, or interpretive, framework in which the complexity of human existence can be understood, and dehumanizing ways of life criticized through cultural forms. Further, I contend that the religions with their symbolic, ritual, and narrative forms provide an indispensable rhetorical resource for that hermeneutical stance, with the resulting position being, on my account, Theological Humanism drawn from Christian sources. Theological and Critical humanism form, I show, a hermeneutical circle important for the study of religion.

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Footnotes
1
By theological reflection I mean, briefly, articulating the meaning and assessing the truth of human religious experience by engaging hermeneutically, and so critically, the resources of actual religions. Such reflection is constructive when it makes normative claims about how religious convictions are to be construed and how they can and should, if at all, orient human thought, belief, and practice.
 
2
Later, I will show how this allows an overlap in our positions.
 
4
Luther claimed that “God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.”
 
5
One is reminded of the motto engraved in the rotunda of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, first built for the 1893 World’s Fair: “Science discerns the laws of nature; technology applies them to the good of man.”
 
Literature
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Metadata
Title
Which Criticism and Whose Humanism?
Author
William Schweiker
Copyright Year
2024
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-48659-3_2

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