A very interesting debate has appeared at Public Discourse following the publication of Hadley Arkes’s essay, Recasting Religious Freedom (subscription required) in the June issue of First Things, between Arkes and Robert T. Miller. The central issue involves a dispute over the best defense of religious freedom in an age shadowed by secularism. Arkes believes the best defense here, given the modern tendency to assume the beliefs of religionists are intrinsically irrational, rests upon a positive account of the reasonableness of the views held by religionists (or non-religionists) rather than upon the sincerity with which they are held. Miller, however, argues that the views of religionists are a special case, and that we should avoid the requirement of judges inquiring into their reasonableness unless absolutely necessary.
The order of the debate is as follows:
I will provide an update if Arkes responds to the rejoinder.