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.

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

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

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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