Deep Politics

I had an argument today with someone over religion.

I would call myself an atheist, yet spiritual, in that I am open to concepts of religion. This person was an Anglican Christian. Suffice to say – our beliefs became a topic of conversation and it went downhill from there. I have always believed that deep politics: religion, political leaning, deep-rooted cultural ideologies, have always been a taboo topic – not only on a first date but in life. What is there to gain by challenging someone’s core beliefs as they challenge your own?

While completing my political science minor at university I changed this view.

Jürgen Habermas, a German sociologist, discusses deep politics in his early 1990s paper on the “public sphere”. In a nutshell, there are three spheres in society: a public sphere, a private sphere and a sphere of the state. Each sphere shares different amounts of information between them and arguably contributes to participatory democracy via public discussion. 


Look, a kitten!


Habermas argues that in order to continue as a society we must continue to communicate, regardless of deep-rooted, unchangeable beliefs. Though we may argue, we are at least communicating. Right on Hab!


2 thoughts on “Deep Politics

  1. The reason religion is such a taboo topic is because people actually think with their emotions and not “facts”. We all believe a lot of things that have been seeped into our minds by our culture and up bringing. My Saudi students were confused by the fact that I knew so much about Islam and yet had no desire to become a Muslim. They thought that reading the Quran would lead me to accept the “true” religion. Earlier that year I was taking to a Baptist who told me that if we could just get the Muslims to read the Bible, then they would become Christians.

    1. I’ve had similar experiences. I often think atheists do not realise how deeply rooted religious beliefs are. It’s they same as asking an atheist to accept a religion of someone else’s choosing. Mass tolerance is required and unfortunately a lot of religions don’t leave room for that.

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