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Religions, Cultures and Politics

Religions, Cultures and Politics


General ReferenceComparative Religion

ISBN13: 9798729345373
Publisher: Independently Published
Published: Mar 27 2021
Pages: 142
Weight: 0.44
Height: 0.30 Width: 5.98 Depth: 9.02
Language: English
Religion and politicsReligion and politics is the relationship between spiritual and secular authority, and the effects of religious principles or beliefs on political life. This has always been fraught with potential conflict. Religion is acknowledged to be a crucial source of legitimacy and political mobilisation in all societies, ranging from those which are avowedly secularist, such as communist regimes, to those which are theocracies, such as Iran, or Tibet before Chinese rule was imposed in 1951, or those where conformity to a state religion plays an important part in national life, as in Saudi Arabia. A complex example is Israel, a state founded on Zionism, a secular movement which claims the territory of Israel on historical and religious grounds. Many states have tried to weaken the power of the religious body by creating a state religious body, as in England, Scotland, and most of northern Europe following the 16th-century Reformation, where national churches were legally established in an attempt at control. Likewise, many great Islamic dynasties tried to assimilate the ulama (teachers of Islamic law); more recently, the secular government of Turkey attempted to reduce the authority of Islam by creating a State Directorate of Religious Affairs. In the former Soviet Union, religious activity was circumscribed or even banned until 1991 when freedom of belief was reinstated.The authorities had tried to control the remaining religious institutions by bringing them under state supervision. In the USA, by contrast, the separation of church and state is formally enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution (1791), exemplifying the principle of secularism, the view that religion should be separate from public life, which first came to prominence among philosophers of the 18th-century Enlightenment.Secularisation and the decline of religious belief and observance were regarded by many as hallmarks of modernisation and Western liberal democracy until recent years, but since the Iranian Islamic Revolution (1979) and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, the resurgence of the New Right and fundamentalist values in US political life in the 1980s, and the virtual collapse of most secular communist regimes by the end of that decade, religion has been very widely acknowledged as a powerful element in both individual and public life.Communal conflictConflict between different groups is often within one state, based upon different religion, race, language, culture, or history, factors which may all be described as their ethnicity (ethnic groups). It may be expressed in a general tension, hostility, and competition for scarce resources, or in forms of oppression or prejudice by one group, often the majority, over another, such as racism, segregation, and discrimination. It may lead to unrest or protests which destabilise a state, separatist movements, or open armed conflict culminating in civil war, which undermines the integrity of the state and may lead to secession. Communal conflict may also be a major source of conflict between states. Conflict may be sparked by a particular issue, such as access to a mutually claimed religious place (the most famous example being Jerusalem, which is holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims; while in Ayodhya, India, which is one of the seven most sacred Hindu sites, Hindus have attempted to demolish a mosque). Disputes often focus on language and education.

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