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Democratic Rhetoric and The Duty of Deliberation, Vol. 8 - 2001, No. 3

Religious Rhetoric and Public Deliberation: Preliminary Thoughts

, pages: 51-58

The matter of Religious Rhetoric may be discussed under two main categories: in the first, Religion is merely a means of argumentation and in the second, Religion is the object of the argumentation. The first category may be defined as "agreements of certain special audiences" which is distinguished from the "universal audience." The "universal audience" constitutes a wide range of agreement, which is based as a rule on the general knowledge, experience and common sense of people. This agreement functions rhetorically as the starting point of an argument while the speaker (writer) seeks to begin the argument from a point shared with the audience at large, the "universal audience." However, an argument that aims to reach an agreement on the basis of theology (i.e. a religious system, or sacred texts) cannot capture the "universal audience." The audience's presupposition under such specific cases is limited to a specific group that shares a specific language and specific premises accepted only by them as self-evidence. What is usually called common sense consists of a series of beliefs which are accepted within a particular society, and which the members of that society suppose to be shared by every reasonable being.

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