Print this page Share

An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-secular Age

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4720-3
96 pages
March 2010, Polity
An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-secular Age  (0745647200) cover image


In his recent writings on religion and secularization, Habermas has challenged reason to clarify its relation to religious experience and to engage religions in a constructive dialogue. Given the global challenges facing humanity, nothing is more dangerous than the refusal to communicate that we encounter today in different forms of religious and ideological fundamentalism.

Habermas argues that in order to engage in this dialogue, two conditions must be met: religion must accept the authority of secular reason as the fallible results of the sciences and the universalistic egalitarianism in law and morality; and conversely, secular reason must not set itself up as the judge concerning truths of faith. This argument was developed in part as a reaction to the conception of the relation between faith and reason formulated by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2006 Regensburg address.

In 2007 Habermas conducted a debate, under the title ‘An Awareness of What Is Missing', with philosophers from the Jesuit School for Philosophy in Munich. This volume includes Habermas's essay, the contributions of his interlocutors and Habermas's reply to them. It will be indispensable reading for anyone who wishes to understand one of the most urgent and intractable issues of our time.

See More

Table of Contents


Michael Reder und Josef Schmidt, S.J.: Habermas and Religion.

Jürgen Habermas: An Awareness of What is Missing.

Norbert Brieskorn, S.J.: On the Attempt to Recall a Relationship.

Michael Reder: How Far Can Faith and Reason Be Distinguished? Remarks on Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion.

Friedo Ricken, S.J.: Postmetaphysical Reason and Religion.

Josef Schmidt, S.J.: A Dialogue in Which There Can Only Be Winners.

Jürgen Habermas: A Reply.


Biographical notes.

See More

Author Information

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt
See More

The Wiley Advantage

• A major new contribution by one of the leading philosophers and social thinkers in the world today
• In this important book Habermas develops his views on the relation between reason and faith in a ‘post-secular' society
• This book forms part of Habermas's dialogue with Pope Benedict XVI and represents his response to the views expressed by the Pope in his 2006 Regensburg address
• The volume includes an excellent introduction to Habermas's views on religion; a major new text by Habermas; four essays by Jesuit philosophers interrogating Habermas's views; and Habermas's reply
See More


"Social scientists spent most of the past century trying to work out why the world was failing to live up to their expectations: why was there still so much rural idiocy, and why was religion refusing to go away? No one has brought more intellectual heft to these problems than Jürgen Habermas."
Jonathan Rée, New Humanist

"A very significant contribution to the renewed faith–reason dialogue."
Reviews in Religion and Theology

"The book contains five insightful essays and begins with an excellent overiew of Habermas's new view of religion, its development, and the subsequent discussion."
The Ecumenist

"The value of this slim but suggestive volume lies as much in what it does — bringing the voices of reason and faith together in respectful debate — as in what it says. If not more so."
Common Knowledge

See More
Back to Top