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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The discourse of religious accommodation has stopped making sense and the reason it has stopped making sense is because our terminology is inherited from a tradition of political theological discourse that has been forgotten: the theology of divine accommodation. This chapter reconstructs the content of that tradition of political theology in broad strokes, arguing that the birthplace of secularism and the birthplace of liberalism both lie here. Once we recognize that, a number of doctrinal and conceptual puzzles can be solved, including how to define religion, whether to characterize secular humanism as a religion, and how broadly to construe the right to religious accommodation. It also solves the intellectual history puzzle of how Christianity came to be “terrestrialized,” paving the way for the evolution of liberal political thought. Contra the received wisdom that political theology and liberalism are intellectual and political antagonists, locating the origins of liberalism and secularism in the tradition of divine accommodation reveals conservative political theology and liberal political theory to be one and the same. It further reveals the centrality of law to the humanist tradition and the centrality of humanism to law.

Keywords: religion, liberalism, secularism, divine accommodation, political theology, humanism, law

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