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The Practice of Pluralism: Jeffrey Stout and Abraham Kuyper on Religion and Civil Solidarity

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AbstractThe concept of solidarity plays a significant role within the discursive framework of modern social philosophy. This article points to the notion that solidarity is central to North American philosopher Jeffrey Stout and Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper’s respective visions for civil society. The article proposes that framing civil society under the category of solidarity is something to be affirmed, as is the quest for a space in which religious pluralism can be encouraged and facilitated. Thus, the article proposes that Christian theologians would do well to lean on a contemporary voice such as Stout, an ally in assessing and critiquing secular liberalism’s prospects in our own day, and Kuyper, a provider of rich theological resources for advancing Stout’s general project, although with some qualification. Both can move the conversation regarding religion and civil society forward. Stoutians and Kuyperians can benefit from this exchange as well. Stoutians can glean several insights from Kuyperians as they consider possible religious resources for moving toward a civil solidarity that embraces religious voices. Kuyperians can find a contemporary North American interlocutor for developing their notion of principled pluralism in civil society.

Affiliations: 1: The King’s CollegeNew York; 2: Lutheran School of Theology in AarhusDenmarkMF Norwegian School of


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