An empirical study of religious reasoning and its implications for democracy
Küçükural, Önder (2014) An empirical study of religious reasoning and its implications for democracy. [Thesis]
In the near future, Middle Eastern democracy will be shaped by conflicts over the status of religion in the public sphere as well as by conflicts driven by the relationship between religion and the state. While political liberal viewpoints contend that in modern political and social life comprehensive doctrines do not accord well with the demands of pluralism, it does seem that, in their day-to-day practices, some Muslims in Turkey do manage to adequately reconcile their comprehensive doctrines with pluralism’s many demands. Based on fieldwork undertaken in nine cities across Turkey, this thesis is a study of individuals’ modes of religious reasoning. This work analyzes the ways in which Muslim citizens’ religious reasoning styles enable them to either reject or to adjust to the demands of modern social and political life. It identifies four modes of religious reasoning: (i) the communitarian; (ii) the utilitarian; (iii) principled; (iv) the deconstructive. Pluralism goes hand in hand with an acknowledgement that there are multiple worlds, realities and truths; the data presented here demonstrate that pluralism is, in fact, a potentiality possessed by every individual. Pluralism emerges or retreats as part of a process of interactions with other individuals, within a context. This thesis demonstrates that this flux, this dynamism, is strongly associated with individuals’ changes between different modes of religious reasoning.
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