Value Pluralism and Monotheism

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Abstract

How far can monotheism be reconciled with the pluralism characteristic of modern societies? In this article, I focus on the value pluralism of Isaiah Berlin, which I suggest captures a deeper level of plurality than Rawls's more familiar version of pluralism. However, some critics have objected that Berlinian pluralism is too controversial an idea in which to ground liberalism because it is profoundly at odds with the monotheism professed by so many citizens of a modern society. I argue that monotheists can be value pluralists as long as they do not insist that their faith is superior to all others. This pluralist position is exemplified by elements of the interfaith movement, according to which many religions are recognized as having roughly equal value. I also argue that a value-pluralist approach to religious accommodation, if it can be achieved, may be more stable than the uneasy combination of disapproval and restraint involved in the more orthodox solution to conflict among religions, toleration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-840
Number of pages23
JournalPolitics and Religion
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2014

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