RELIGION AND THE SEARCH FOR A NEW COSMOPOLITANISM
In a post Cold-War world riven with ‘minor’ conflicts, and a West anxious about the intermittent threat of terrorist attack, human equality and sodality (fraternity and sorority) require urgent review. Among interesting proposals for a theoretical foundation to human equality is Martha Nussbaum’s call for a revived, modern version of Stoicism to teach indifference to race and a neighbourly goodwill. Yet in her concern to avoid ‘teleologies’ Nussbaum denatures Stoicism by disconnecting it from its transcendent foundations. A problem for the modern world is to maintain the authority of states, with their capacity to produce relief for the poor and oppressed along with their capacity to dominate, while having them absorb the ideals of cosmopolitanism into their own policyformation. It is incumbent on the democratic state, the progenitor of the cosmopolitanism of both Cynicism and Stoicism, to promote the ideals of human dignity and equality. Nussbaum’s Stoicism scarcely helps, but there are globalizing organizations, such as the United Nations and its agencies, and globalized religious organizations, as advanced by Hans Küng, which may supply the institutional foundation.
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