Religion and Politics

Topics: Religion, Judaism, Politics Pages: 7 (2770 words) Published: May 8, 2009
Religion and Politics

Historically, religion and politics have always played a very significant part in our everyday lives, dating back to the ancient pharaohs of Africa to our modern day society, religion have had a profound effect on our existence as a society. For a good example of how religion affects politics in our modern world we need not look very far but in our own backyard. The influence of Catholicism on Latin American politics, and the role religion plays on Middle Eastern politics have had a profound affect in those related societies. After examining the affects of religion into the above mentioned societies it is clear that the introduction of religion into politics has proven to be suppressive and counterproductive to most third world countries, and various subcultures in first world countries. A very well known writer and scholar on the history of Egypt, Budge, E. A. Wallis, "Egyptian Religion and Society: Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life (Library of the Mystic Arts)". Citadel Press. August 1, 1991. Wrote, “Most scholars have concluded that, in later times at least, there was no close personal tie between the individual Egyptian and the gods, that the gods remained aloof, that their relationship to humans was indirect, communicated to him by means of the king”. We must remember that there was no established book or set of teachings, as the Bible or the Qur'an, and few prescribed conditions of behavior or conduct. Humans were guided essentially by human wisdom and trusted in their belief in the goodness of the gods and of their divine son, the king. An important concept in Egyptian life was the idea of justice. Although the Egyptian was entirely subservient to the state, the king had the duty of translating the will of the gods. The universe had been created by bringing order and justice to replace chaos, and only through the continuance of order and justice could the universe survive. The law of nature, of society, and of the gods was all one whole, and it was the duty of the king to administer that law, which was guided by the concept of justice? As Egypt flourished, so did the state cult. As the pharaohs grew more powerful, they poured riches into the state cult and built huge and splendid temples to their gods. The priesthoods/political leaders then grew very powerful. Much like ancient Egypt, in our not so distant past the social and political questions that have emerged with the transformation of the Catholic Church in Latin America since the 1960’s are numerous and complex. According to a New York Times correspondent Alan Riding, in reviewing Penny Lernoux’s the Cry of the People (1980) and three other recent titles, called the changing role of the Church the most important single variable affecting the resurgence of revolutionary struggles there, and the metamorphosis of the Church “the most important political development in Latin America since the Cuban revolution” (1981, p 3). Although perhaps exaggerated, such claims point to the tremendous significance of the Church in period of widespread crisis and social change. Moreover, “there are many other Catholic movements involved in politics besides those inspired by liberation theology”. This is according to Opus Dei comments made during an interview with the Brazilian Herald (2005, p 3). He also went on to say that “the major challenger to Lula in the forthcoming Brazilian presidential elections is a man who is linked to the very conservative traditionalist Catholic movement, which is also very strong in Peru. The Catholic charismatic movement has also become more and more politically active”. (2005, p 3). As for Protestantism in Latin America, Latin American Protestant identity was forged strongly in opposition to the dominant Catholicism; and, therefore, the political operationalization of a specifically Protestant identity has been more marked there than in the rest of the...

References: Riding, A. In reviewing Penny Lernoux’s the Cry of the People (1980)
Budge, E. A. Wallis, "Egyptian Religion and Society: Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life
Library of the Mystic Arts)". Citadel Press. August 1, 1991
Lewis, B. The Jews of Islam. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984,
Opus, D. comments made during an interview with the Brazilian Herald (2005,p 3).
Penny L. the Cry of the People (1980)
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