“…they depict God as a monster moved solely by God’s own power and glory….” #rawlsreligion

Following his experiences in World War II, John Rawls more and more moved away from Christianity. He explains that his difficulties were "always moral ones, since my fideism remained firm against all worries about the existence of God." (Rawls 2010, 263)Fideism is the view that there cannot be an evidence-based or scientific proof of the existence of God. Since, Rawls' view of the existence of God was not in question, his departure from Christianity was not an exodus towards Atheism, … [Read more...]

The Holocaust and Losing Faith in Christianity. #rawlsreligion

I started writing a while back about John Rawls and his journey away from a rather orthodox Protestant faith. Rawls mentions three incidents which he viewed as playing a significant role in this change. All are connected to World War II, with the first two dealing with specific experience Rawls had while fighting in the Pacific. I wrote about them here.The third incident is a much larger event. It is the Holocaust.Rawls recounts finding out about the Holocaust in the following way: It … [Read more...]

Galston’s Response to A Brief Inquiry #rawlsreligion

William Galston's response to A Brief Inquiry Into the Meaning of Faith and Sin (Rawls 2010), offers a number of interest takes on Rawls and his work in general. However, it also shows a number of the misinterpretations on the part of Galston. "If it turns out that early faith commitments constitute the unexpressed but indispensable basis of Rawls's thought, then one may wonder whether there are other grounds on which those of different faiths, or no faith at all, can affirm the validity of his … [Read more...]

Losing faith during war. #rawlsreligion

While it is often said that there are "no atheists in foxholes," the experience of war can be a destroyer of faith. Rawls wrote that he was raised in a "conventionally religious" home. He finished his undergraduate studies and entered the military as a "believing orthodox Episcopalian Christian." Yet, by June of 1945, he had, in his own words, "abandoned it entirely."(Rawls 2010, 261)While claiming to not fully understand this shift himself, Rawls points to three events that took place … [Read more...]

Losing My Religion: REM and Rawls #rawlsreligion

Right now, I am writing about John Rawls and his loss of orthodox Christian faith during World War II. Rawls provides a very personal and touching narrative of some of the events that led to his loss of orthodox faith in essay "On My Religion" (2010).I emphasize his loss of orthodox Christian faith because in many ways Rawls does not reject faith, but instead he turns away from the theological tenants of Christianity. I will be looking at this in a 3 or 4 posts over the next couple of … [Read more...]

How much must we account for the complexity of religious pluralism in political philosophy? #rawlsreligion

Note: This is the rough start to a larger treatment of this issue.In the works of Rawls, religion, as a concept is largely conceptualized as mainstream Western religion. This includes both Protestant and Catholic strands of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In particular, I think that Rawls primarily has mainline Protestantism, the faith of his youth, in mind when he thinks of people of faith accepting an overlapping consensus about a political conception of justice.The moral assumptions … [Read more...]

Bibliography #rawlsreligion

This page will serve as a bibliography/works cited page for my dissertation project posts. It will be updated at sources are added.Bloom, Allan David.¬†Giants and Dwarfs: Essays, 1960-1990. London: Simon and Schuster, 1991Dombrowski, Daniel A. Rawlsian Explorations in Religion and Applied Philosophy. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 2011.Freeman, Samuel. Justice and the Social Contract: Essays on Rawlsian Political Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, … [Read more...]