Taking Leave of Abraham (Hardback)
An Essay on Religion & Democracy
Abraham's intention to sacrifice his son on God's command symbolises the violent potential of authoritarian religion. The contemporary resurgence of radically 'conservative' and 'fundamentalist' religion raises the question whether this kind of God-relation is compatible with a commitment to liberal democracy. In this timely and original book, Troels Nager provides an answer by integrating insights from philosophy of religion and political philosophy. In Part One, Nager surveys the interpretive history of Genesis 22, focusing in particular on Kierkegaard's ingenious attempt to save Abraham and his unquestioning faith. In Part Two, drawing on eminent thinkers like Rawls and Habermas, Nager argues that while religion can be accorded an important role in the public square, each religion and each believer must learn to appreciate that in a pluralist society 'the political' (government, legal system, and public administration) is neutral towards religion and ultimately guided by 'secular' reason. Taking Leave of Abraham is a call to embrace our post-secular modernity without surrendering to the demands of authoritarian religion.