Presentation on theme: "James Wellman Associate Professor and Chair Comparative Religion Program Jackson School of International Studies University of Washington."— Presentation transcript:
James Wellman Associate Professor and Chair Comparative Religion Program Jackson School of International Studies University of Washington
Resources forthe Study Title VI Funding: Center for Global Studies Luce Foundation Grant: Religion and International Affairs Two year $300,000 grant to study Religion and Human Security Series of Scholarly lectures Two symposiums, refereed papers, including 15 national and internationally known scholars Edited Volume on Religion and Human Security: Negotiating with Religious Non-state Actors
Thesis for talk: Fundamental importance of the relation of religion and human security Negotiating and understanding religion as it relates to states is a critical aspect of how the welfare of human groups is sustained
Question for the Study Since 9/11, obvious questions: Is religion the source of violence? Is religion the problem? How is the state threatened by religious groups? How does the state deal with religious non-state actors? In what ways do religious non-state actors compromise, confront and compete withstates in providing human security?
Question for the Study Religions relate to states in multiple ways: Partnering with it, supporting the status quo Maintaining a benign relationship withthe state— whether the state is religious or secular Competing with the state,whetherin providing social service,or, more provocatively, bygaining political legitimacy
Question for the Study Religion becomes competitor with the state, whether the state is religious or secular— Often by providing social services where the state has failed—or secular social services fail: Turkey US Christian Right Becoming a grassroots political force Muslim Brotherhood Hezbollah US Christian Right
Begs the question: Does religion cause anything? Religion is A system of symbolic and social boundaries related to a power or force experienced within and beyond the self and group most often related to spirits or gods
Begs the question: Does religion cause anything? In the modern world, religion is: Organized group that is institutionally legitimized Devoted to sharing and living out this worldview in the world Mobilized as a separate center of power (social and political power)
Sources of religions power Affective experience: Religions make individuals and groups feel something powerful mobilizes individuals and groups Truth claims: Religions make truth claims, while unverifiable,cannot be disconfirmed Religious act because of these felt truths
Sources of religions power Religions creates powerful elixir of experience/truth/promise/reward Experience, source ofunending energy Certain truth in uncertain world Promise of purpose in the moment Reward of blessings now and forever
Human Security v National Security Human security we mean the provision of services that are essential to ensure that people enjoy a basic quality of life
Human Security v National Security National Security: Focuses on the question of how states ensure their long-term political independence in a world of nation-states States defendagainst attacks by making war States have sometimes, (maybe often) in attempt to defend sovereignty, ignore more basic issues of human security
First Axiom: Religion and its relation to the state We argue: religion sustains individual and group identities acts to mobilize groups to nurture and defend the state and empire, as well as to resist political powers
Second Axiom: Ignoring religion is a mistake Historically, religions HAVE BECOME CENTERS OF INDEPENDENT POWER—DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THEIR POWER
Third Axiom: In modernity, religion increases in importance The importance of religion in human security grows synergistically with crises in the world of nation states States have collapsed or radically changed, and people have become subject to global forces over which they have no control
Final Axiom: In modernity, religion becomes sanctuary Thus: More and more people all over the world have returned to places and practices that are personal and familiar to them imagined communities, whether real or not evoke and provoke desire for return and motivate to recreate the past religion as a sanctuary, nostalgia
Conclusion: Fundamental importance of the relation of religion and human security Negotiating and understanding religion as it relates to states is a critical aspect of how the welfare of human groups is sustained
Examples: United States US: Christian Right, felt failure of state to provide moral culture (human security) mobilized political action Reactions: Secularists: Threatens national security Liberal Religionists: Keep religion out of politics No religionists: Religion is poison
Examples: Middle East Middle East: Hamas, felt failure of state to provide moral culture (human security) mobilized political action Reactions: PLO (secularists): Threatens national security Israel: support, and later attack Conservatives (secularists) Label group as terrorists
Juan Cole: Engaging the Muslim World “By ‘engagement,’ I do not mean surrender or accommodation. I mean critique as well as dialogue, pressure as well as basic human respect, sticks such as sanctions as well as carrots such as better diplomatic and economic relations. I mean the demotion of military response from favored tool to last resort. I do not underestimate the challenge of radical Muslim fundamentalism but simply note that guerrilla wars have almost never been won by simple force of arms.” p. 5.
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