Transcript: Between Relativism and Fundamentalism – Is There a Middle Ground?

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

Speaker: Peter Berger, David Brooks and Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Venue: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life


03/04/2008 - Peter Berger, an eminent sociologist of religion and a lifelong Lutheran, asked himself several years ago: “Would my moral convictions change if I woke up tomorrow as an atheist?” For Berger, this perplexing question led to a research project involving fellow Judeo-Christian religious thinkers, which will culminate in the publication of two books, one later this year. One of Berger’s central concerns was finding a middle ground in religious belief between fundamentalism on the one hand and relativism on the other.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life invited Berger to share his insights on the topic with an audience of journalists and academics. Responding to Berger’s assertion that doubt is ultimately a key element of religious faith in liberal democracies was New York Times columnist David Brooks and noted professor of religion Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

Speaker:
Peter Berger, Director, Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, Boston University

Respondents:
David Brooks, Columnist, The New York Times
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Studies professor, George Washington University

Moderator:
Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics & Public Policy Center; Senior Advisor, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Topics of discussion include faith without certainty, the example of slavery, the Muslim world’s middle ground, religious fanaticism, fundamentalism as a response to modernity’s choices, living with religious doubt, and peaceful fundamentalists versus violent fundamentalists.

Read the full transcript Between Relativism and Fundamentalism: Is There a Middle Ground? on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.

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