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POL 1000 – Lecture 16: Religion & Politics Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Fall Session, 2011 Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial.

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Presentation on theme: "POL 1000 – Lecture 16: Religion & Politics Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Fall Session, 2011 Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial."— Presentation transcript:

1 POL 1000 – Lecture 16: Religion & Politics Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Fall Session, 2011 Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Fall Session, 2011

2 Lecture Arc  1. Religion & Politics.  2. Origins of Fundamentalism.  3. The Power of Fundamentalism.  1. Religion & Politics.  2. Origins of Fundamentalism.  3. The Power of Fundamentalism.

3 Religion & Politics  In Western, secular societies, religion tends to be a private affair (W philosophy views separation as ideal).  Canada, W Europe: Church attendance is falling. Religion generally left off the campaign trail. (though US, Holland, etc, offer stark exceptions).  Origins: Christianity sought imperial tolerance, thus made division between God and Caesars, assisting secular/religious split.  Key: where authority is divided, dissent flourishes (Landes p38).  Even less separation in other regions.  Lesson? Is East – West split, but also w/in regions themselves (i.e. by geography, age, etc).  Are political debates which take place w/in religious instxns themselves.  ‘Abduh (~1890): how adapt ancient texts to modern needs & context?  I.e. today: women priests, same-sex marriages, etc.  Can serve as a platform for liberation.  ‘60s: Catholic Church in Latin Amer as activists for social justice & human rights (i.e. vs military repression).  ‘80-’00s: Hizbullah in Lebanon as provider of welfare state.  Can also inspire desire to change policy outcomes—or even to transform politics itself.  Nothing wrong with this, though can make bargaining difficult.  Nature of belief is to remain inured from dialogue & debate. Cannot divide faith.  In Western, secular societies, religion tends to be a private affair (W philosophy views separation as ideal).  Canada, W Europe: Church attendance is falling. Religion generally left off the campaign trail. (though US, Holland, etc, offer stark exceptions).  Origins: Christianity sought imperial tolerance, thus made division between God and Caesars, assisting secular/religious split.  Key: where authority is divided, dissent flourishes (Landes p38).  Even less separation in other regions.  Lesson? Is East – West split, but also w/in regions themselves (i.e. by geography, age, etc).  Are political debates which take place w/in religious instxns themselves.  ‘Abduh (~1890): how adapt ancient texts to modern needs & context?  I.e. today: women priests, same-sex marriages, etc.  Can serve as a platform for liberation.  ‘60s: Catholic Church in Latin Amer as activists for social justice & human rights (i.e. vs military repression).  ‘80-’00s: Hizbullah in Lebanon as provider of welfare state.  Can also inspire desire to change policy outcomes—or even to transform politics itself.  Nothing wrong with this, though can make bargaining difficult.  Nature of belief is to remain inured from dialogue & debate. Cannot divide faith.

4 Fundamentalism  Most powerful confluence of religion & politics is seen with ‘fundamentalism’ (adherents are most committed, thus most resistant to bargaining).  Aim is to revitalize faith thru strict & literal interpretation of foundational religious texts.  Scripture seen as absolutely & categorically true.  Can be used as a force for good.  Can be used to pull us back from the crassness & callousness of modernity.  Also, can be use in capricious ways.  Perversion of religion can lead to willingness to embrace most frightening of deeds.  Again, nature of belief is to remain immune from bargains. Can thus find comfort in whatever you or your movement find pious.  Origins:  Term dates back to US Christian movts of early 20thC (Steward & Steward 1910-’15).  Were concerned w spiritual & moral decline (response to a. waves of non- Protestant settlers & b. science--ie Darwin et al & Nietzsche’s ‘God is dead’ claim).  Most powerful confluence of religion & politics is seen with ‘fundamentalism’ (adherents are most committed, thus most resistant to bargaining).  Aim is to revitalize faith thru strict & literal interpretation of foundational religious texts.  Scripture seen as absolutely & categorically true.  Can be used as a force for good.  Can be used to pull us back from the crassness & callousness of modernity.  Also, can be use in capricious ways.  Perversion of religion can lead to willingness to embrace most frightening of deeds.  Again, nature of belief is to remain immune from bargains. Can thus find comfort in whatever you or your movement find pious.  Origins:  Term dates back to US Christian movts of early 20thC (Steward & Steward 1910-’15).  Were concerned w spiritual & moral decline (response to a. waves of non- Protestant settlers & b. science--ie Darwin et al & Nietzsche’s ‘God is dead’ claim).

5 Fundamentalism Returns  Christian fundamentalists popular post-WWI (i.e. Temperance movts), though soon died down.  1970s: return of popular religious movts re social policy.  Falwell’s ‘Moral Majority’ begins 1971.  Robertson’s ‘Christian Coalition’ key to ‘94 congressional elections.  Today’s face covering debate in Quebec & France.  1990s: fundamentalism goes international.  Globalization provides both means & reason to turn to religion.  George Weigel: “unsecularization of the world is one of the dominant social facts of life in the late twentieth century.”  Christian missionaries sweep across Africa & E Asia.  Islamism ignites not only domestic ambitions (i.e. Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine), but some (i.e. bin Laden) have transnational goals (i.e. return of Caliphate).  Christian fundamentalists popular post-WWI (i.e. Temperance movts), though soon died down.  1970s: return of popular religious movts re social policy.  Falwell’s ‘Moral Majority’ begins 1971.  Robertson’s ‘Christian Coalition’ key to ‘94 congressional elections.  Today’s face covering debate in Quebec & France.  1990s: fundamentalism goes international.  Globalization provides both means & reason to turn to religion.  George Weigel: “unsecularization of the world is one of the dominant social facts of life in the late twentieth century.”  Christian missionaries sweep across Africa & E Asia.  Islamism ignites not only domestic ambitions (i.e. Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine), but some (i.e. bin Laden) have transnational goals (i.e. return of Caliphate).

6 The Power of Fundamentalism  Extremists tend to see world in us-vs-them binaries (‘manichaean images’).  Is simplistic, but incredibly effective (‘you’re w us or against us’). Is no room for bargain or retreat.  Religious belief is predicated on faith, not empirical evidence. Thus offers no conversation w science.  Awkward balance btn tradition & modernity.  Rely on texts 2,000 years old, but also cell phones.  Interpretation usually made by most charismatic or powerful.  Popularity fed when coupled w econ or social injustice.  Easier to accept strict religious interpretation when are hungry & unsafe.  Taliban offered stability after 20 years of war.  Given urgency to fix these problems—injustice is great motivator.  Is fundamentalism a fad, or here to stay?  Will technology, globalization, & ‘modernity’ dampen or exacerbate these tensions surrounding politics & belief?  Extremists tend to see world in us-vs-them binaries (‘manichaean images’).  Is simplistic, but incredibly effective (‘you’re w us or against us’). Is no room for bargain or retreat.  Religious belief is predicated on faith, not empirical evidence. Thus offers no conversation w science.  Awkward balance btn tradition & modernity.  Rely on texts 2,000 years old, but also cell phones.  Interpretation usually made by most charismatic or powerful.  Popularity fed when coupled w econ or social injustice.  Easier to accept strict religious interpretation when are hungry & unsafe.  Taliban offered stability after 20 years of war.  Given urgency to fix these problems—injustice is great motivator.  Is fundamentalism a fad, or here to stay?  Will technology, globalization, & ‘modernity’ dampen or exacerbate these tensions surrounding politics & belief?

7

8  Maddison:  1000 AD: Middle East’s share of global GDP 10%, vs 9% in Europe.  1700: Europe 22%, vs 2% for Mid East.  Today: Mid E income/head just 28% of Eur & Amer avg.  Armgts on divergence:  1. Spirit of Islam is hostile to commerce.  Yet Koran is full of praise for commerce (Muhammad was a reader). More pro-business than Bible.  2. Islam bans usury.  Yet so too do Torah & Bible.  3. Timur Kuran: failed to dev commerical instxns  Espec joint stock companies.  Eurs inherited from Roman law. Took this base to dev ever more complicated partnerships. By 1470 Medicis had 57 staff in 8 Eur cities. Ltd liability by mid- 19thC. Double-enry books keeping & stock markets.  Is vs prevailing ‘law of partnerships’, where businesses could be dissolved at whim of a single partner. Plus generous inheritance laws & polygammy = diffusions of wealth.  Are crucial obstacles when business becomes complex.  Attaturk adopted instxns in ‘20s. Now best growth in region.  Maddison:  1000 AD: Middle East’s share of global GDP 10%, vs 9% in Europe.  1700: Europe 22%, vs 2% for Mid East.  Today: Mid E income/head just 28% of Eur & Amer avg.  Armgts on divergence:  1. Spirit of Islam is hostile to commerce.  Yet Koran is full of praise for commerce (Muhammad was a reader). More pro-business than Bible.  2. Islam bans usury.  Yet so too do Torah & Bible.  3. Timur Kuran: failed to dev commerical instxns  Espec joint stock companies.  Eurs inherited from Roman law. Took this base to dev ever more complicated partnerships. By 1470 Medicis had 57 staff in 8 Eur cities. Ltd liability by mid- 19thC. Double-enry books keeping & stock markets.  Is vs prevailing ‘law of partnerships’, where businesses could be dissolved at whim of a single partner. Plus generous inheritance laws & polygammy = diffusions of wealth.  Are crucial obstacles when business becomes complex.  Attaturk adopted instxns in ‘20s. Now best growth in region.


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