Our “Elf on the Shelf” Has Good Taste

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On Monday morning, we awoke to find our "Elf on the Shelf" elf doing some light reading in the living room.He was reading The Examined Life by Robert Nozick. From the above picture, it appears that he was specifically reading the chapter on The Holocaust. This has come in handy, since I am writing specifically about that chapter today. Check back at Approaching Justice tomorrow to see if my collaboration with the elf ┬áproduces anything interesting. Merry Christmas! Yes, even to all those … [Read more...]

Lit Review: George and Wolfe “Natural Law and Public Reason” #rawlsreligion

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NOTE: This is a research note as I compile my literature review.Robert George and Christopher Wolfe argue that the "reason" aspect of public reason automatically cast religion as somehow being unreasonable or irrational (George 2000, 67). For George and Wolfe, public reason is hostile to religion in that the revelation which stands as the basis of religious faith is sacred rather than "publicly accesible" (67).George and Wolfe contends that prior to 1947 and the Supreme Court case … [Read more...]

Atheism, Relativism, and Morality #rawlsreligion

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Rawls says that atheism is one view that Bodin could not abide. For Bodin, atheism is not the the belief that God does not exist, rather it is the rejection of right and justice. Bodin, according to Rawls, believed "that people will honor right and justice only when they believe in God and fear divine punishments." (Rawls 2010, 267)This suspicion of non-believers was shared by John Locke. In his A Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke excludes atheists (and Catholics for other reasons) from … [Read more...]

“My religion is of interest only to me…”

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"My religion is of interest only to me, as its various phases and how they followed one another are not unusual or especially instructive." (Rawls 2010, 261)The above sentence is how John Rawls begins his rather informal note titled "On My Religion." I have been thinking about this sentence lately and mostly laughing to myself about it.On one hand, this is an example of his humility. Afterall, who would care about musings on religion by some obscure philosopher. Rawls had similar … [Read more...]

Atheist or Agnostic?

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Today, I am writing on Atheism, Jean Bodin, and John Rawls. I bet you are pumped about that post!Anyways, it made me think of this video from the folks at Big Think.Neil deGrasse Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium.My favorite quote from the following clip is this: And some will say, well, that's -- "You're not being fair to the fact that they're actually the same thing." No, they're not the same thing, and I'll tell you why. Atheists I know who proudly wear the badge … [Read more...]

What is Religious Freedom? A Brief Response

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced yesterday that it was initiating an effort to promote the freedom of religion.Here is a video title "What is Religious Freedom?" released by the LDS Church that addresses the meaning of the freedom of religion and the current status of the freedom of religion.A few quick points:1. I found it interesting that the video provided two arguments or philosophical foundations for the freedom of religion. The first was the natural … [Read more...]

Influence of Jean Bodin on Rawls #rawlsreligion

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Rawls wrote in "On My Religion" that one of the texts on religions which has most struck him is the Colloquium of the Seven by Jean Bodin. Rawls noted that three features of Bodin's thought stood out and impressed him about Bodin:First, Bodin was committed to toleration as a life-long Catholic. Rawls differentiates this from Spinoza who "came to toleration after rejecting or changing his religious faith" (Rawls 2010, 266). Toleration was instead for Bodin "an aspect … [Read more...]


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