Can secularism continue to provide a foundation for political legitimacy? It is often claimed that one of the cultural achievements of the West has been its establishment of secular democracy, wherein religious belief is respected but confined to the sphere of private belief. In more recent times, however, political secularism has been increasingly called into question. Religious believers, in numerous traditions, have protested against the distortion and confinement that secularism imposes on their faith. Others have become uneasily aware of the way in which secularism longer commands universal assent in the way it once did. Confronting Secularism in Europe and India adds to this debate by staging a creative encounter between European and Indian conceptions of secularism with a view to continuing new and distinctive trajectories of thought about the place and role of secularism in contemporary times. Looking at political secularism, the relationship between secularism and religion, and religious and secular violence, this book considers whether there are viable alternatives to secularism in Europe and in India.
Brian Black is Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Lancaster, UK. He is the author of The Character of the Self in Ancient India (2007). Gavin Hyman is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at the University of Lancaster, UK. He has published widely in contemporary philosophy and religious thought, and his most recent book is Traversing the Middle: Ethics, Politics, Religion (2013). Graham M. Smith is Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Leeds, UK. He is the author of Friendship and the Political: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schmitt (2011).