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Religious Pluralism, Globalization, and World Politics$
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Thomas Banchoff

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195323405

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323405.001.0001

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Toleration, Proselytizing, and the Politics of Recognition

Toleration, Proselytizing, and the Politics of Recognition

(p.89) 4 Toleration, Proselytizing, and the Politics of Recognition
Religious Pluralism, Globalization, and World Politics

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between freedom of religion and the freedom to proselytize in the context of religious pluralism. For pluralism to be robust it must not just encompass religious diversity and interaction but also include efforts to knowingly and determinedly set out to change someone else’s mind about something basic to his or her identity and self-definition. Elshtain acknowledges the power imbalances and mutual suspicions that accompany efforts to win converts through transnational activity. But she argues that to restrict proselytism, through mandatory or self-imposed measures, is to restrict free speech. Nothing should compromise open dialogue within and across traditions in a spirit of truth.

Keywords:   toleration, proselytism, identity, religious freedom, dialogue, Charles Taylor

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