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Atenean scholar explores religion and politics in lecture series

By Allianah Junnice Bolotaulo | March 21, 2024

Dr. Christopher Maboloc, Ateneo de Davao University Associate Professor, delivered a series of discussions on political philosophy and the dynamics of Philippine politics during the Horace B. Silliman Lecture Series. 

As an invited speaker, he discussed three topics titled “Habermas and Rawls on the Role of Religion in the Public Sphere,” “Liberal Egalitarianism and its Communitarian Critics,” and “Great Power Politics and the Problem of Global Justice.” 

He then served as the keynote speaker in the lecture “A Post-Conflict Development Framework for the Bangsamoro.”

The series ran from March 13 to 15 at Ausejo Hall and Silliman University (SU) Hall. 

Dr. Maboloc has held over a hundred public lectures and talks at different institutions. He also boasts a publication record of more than 70 journal articles and 100 social and political commentaries to his credit. 

Religion by Habermas 

In one of the discussions, Dr. Maboloc focused on Jürgen Habermas’ perspective regarding the role of religion in political landscapes. He highlighted three stages of how religion connects with power, norms, and societal practices.

“Religion has become a part of life, but for other masses in the early part of his philosophy, following the Marxist tradition, he (Habermas) saw religion as [a] somewhat an alienating experience,” Dr. Maboloc said.

He also echoed Habermas’ standpoint when he mentioned the need to understand people’s thoughts, actions, and beliefs to recognize religion’s role. 

“He (Habermas) didn’t say that it has a specific function in society… He’s simply describing religion as something that is crucial in the way people live their lives,” Dr. Maboloc explained.

The prolific writer emphasized that although humans are autonomous beings, religion is “somewhat instrumental” in the formation of thought processes that enable them to form a worldview.

Students’ perspectives and reflections

During the discussion, philosophy student Issachar Bacang said that Dr. Maboloc’s lecture revealed a “clear truth” in society.

“Religious leaders and religion have as much a role in public discourse as politicians and lobbyists, for they represent the ideas and beliefs of the believers,” he said.

Moreover, philosophy student Jeph Amilasan found that religion and politics “can be related to anyone” since, according to him, problems are connected to basic human virtues and traits. 

“This discussion eventually boiled down to the importance of tolerance for each other’s uniqueness and beliefs […] about how there is no reason to judge others when it does not violate their rights, values, and safety,” he said.

The lecture series started in 2009 in collaboration between the Philosophy Department and the School of Public Affairs and Governance. It allows student and faculty researchers to share and improve their work.


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