Two Religious Critiques of Liberal Democracy: A Comparison of the Political Theories of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Franklin I. Gamwell

9781495503054: Two Religious Critiques of Liberal Democracy: A Comparison of the Political Theories of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Franklin I. Gamwell
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Democracy may be the best form of government known to us so far, yet even its ardent supporters like Jeffrey Stout and Cornel West are critical of the contemporary Western democracies dominated by secularism and political liberalism. They argue that by keeping religion out of the public sphere deprives the economic political realm of moral and spiritual values. Though theistic faith is used to provide a firm ground for morality, with the Enlightenment, this theistic ground was rejected as pre-modern, part of the hierarchical world view, and inconsistent with democratic values. Franklin I. Gamwell and M.K. Gandhi are the representatives of those who argue for a theistic ground for morality and political ethics, but at the same time up-hold the enduring contributions of the Enlightenment, such as democracy, religious freedom, autonomy and human rights. The thesis of this work is that Gamwell's political ethics, which is grounded on God and offer a common goal for political community, establishes a firm ground for morality and political ethics. A reformulation of Gamwell's theory, using the insights and resources provided by Gandhi's proposal, will not only address some of the deficiencies in Gamwell's theory but also bring a global dimension to it.

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About the Author:

Dr. Johnson Lawrence works as Adjunct Faculty at the College of DuPage and Triton College in Chicago and as a Pastor in the Church of South India. He received his Ph.D. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.


From the Foreword: "This book makes a significant contribution to the field of comparative political philosophy, a fast growing subfield of political philosophy. Beginning from the second half of the twentieth century, there has been a growing expansion of our knowledge of the political philosophies of non-Western cultures, particularly those of India, China and Islam, such that it invites comparison with various political philosophies of the West... It is in this light that we have to see Dr. Lawrence's attempt to compare the political philosophies of Franklin I. Gamwell and that of Mahatma Gandhi." - Anthony Parel, Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary, Canada. From a Peer Review: "Dr. Lawrence believes that the crisis in modern and postmodern ethical and political life can be resolved by a return to a metaphysical teleological ground. How to enact this foundational transformation in a world dominated, on the one hand, by logic and scientific reasoning and on the other, by religious pluralism is no easy task. Lawrence draws out implications for such a project from both western and Asian sources. He begins with an analysis of the political ethics of Franklin I. Gamwell and argues that Gamwell's theory can be workable, if strengthened and augmented by the spiritual and political experiments of Mohandas K. Gandhi." - Dr: Keith W Krasemann, Professor of Philosophy, College of DuPage

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