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Exploring Secular Spiritual Capital: An Engagement in Religious and Secular Dialogue for a Common Future?

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This article introduces the concept of secular spiritual capital (SSC) as a contribution to new theory and praxis, which the authors believe has potential to serve as an important tool in the increasingly sensitive yet robust task of public theology; namely mapping and negotiating increasingly complex and contested public spaces between religion and secularity. The article starts with the furore caused by a public lecture given by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury in which he argued for allowing aspects of Sharia law to function within the UK's secularized legal frameworks. The article then develops the concept of SSC by synthesizing existing ideas located within sociology, anthropology and practical theology. It refers to recent praxis in key public policy/civil society areas; such as planning, social care and community cohesion, which stress the importance of partnership and dialogue between religious and secular sectors for the sake of the common good. The article concludes that SSC helps create a ‘thicker’ public discourse based on virtues and ethics, as well as rights.

Affiliations: 1: William Temple Foundation, Manchester, UK


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