Religion and politics
Due to the wide radius between different religions and political systems it’s important to state that different set of people may interpret the correlation between religion and politics differently. The discussion can be approached from many angles and I’d like to begin with sorting out my overall view on the question.
In a world where different establishments and different ideologies flourish and fade it’s important to grasp the concept from the outside; mere dynamics such as morals, ethics, beliefs change over time and are all a part of a nihilistic value chain that has been created for the same purpose: To gather humans together on common grounds. This all may sound harmless, if it was done on mutual grounds, but there’s the followers and creators (Nietzsche, 1885). There’s people who destroy old value frames and create new, the creator of religion, capitalism, nationalism were all, in direct quote by Nietzsche; “Übermenschen” – roughly meaning “overhuman”. The rest were referred to as humans, and Nietzsche said that “the human must be conquered”, by those words he meant that old ideas and old value frames must be conquered or “crushed” in order to flourish new ones.
Nietzsche’s terms of expression may seem radical to some but none the less true, we live in an immanent society under the same value frame that works as a never ending cycle. Inside of this cycle exists different “-ism’s”, religion, politics etc. We humans create new ideas and new “-ism’s” under these branches and call it “progress” with a hint of actual transcendence in our environment. When truth is that these changes are going in the same cycle and the cycle isn’t moving forward – just round and round. To really understand our social environment one must first enable oneself to step outside of the immanent and nihilistic cycle that we call society. From there analyzing its interior becomes clearer, the problem is reaching there, one must first denounce everything inside from being absolute truths, which only a few percent of the earth’s population would.
The correlation between religion and politics sparks differently in different establishments. The integration of religion into politics does not work very well in the bigger secular societies such as Sweden; if the Swedish prime minister were to announce himself as Christian he’d lose more votes than he’d win. But not all secular societies are alike. In, for example, USA, a president has to announce himself as Christian to even stand a chance running for office. That gives religion a big affect on politics in America, where countless presidents have praised God in their speeches. If the Swedish prime minister were to praise God in a speech he’d get laughed at, which shows the big psychological diversity even between secular states.
Even though USA may have a lot of religious influence in their politics it does not have any overall affect on their policy, each state has their own right to determine most of their laws. In California gay marriage has been approved even though they have a republican senator, republicans are often associated to conservatism while democrats lean more to liberalism. This shows that the country is secular even though it’s overall religious which could be seen as a paradox. The easiest way to explain it is that religion has been used a tool of manipulation rather than guidance in governing, and the secular society has been accepted due to cultural aspects rather than religious. Liberal ideals are all part of the “American dream”.
In Saudi Arabia which has an Islamic governing under Sharia laws, religion has a great impact on politics; conservative religious values are the foundation of internal politics. The country is ruled by diplomacy and freedom of speech is a myth, some may contend that this has nothing to do with religion itself but through history different religious establishments have had the same democratic problem. History leaves room for skeptics; religious establishments have never worked well in modern history.
It’s all relative; depending on different social environments religion has had and has a different amount of impact on politics. From my point of view religion is a tool of manly made manipulation under Capitalism and is used as such for political gains when possible. So how has religion been a part of politics from a historical point of view? I, personally, see it fade and become more sublime in western countries whilst extremist regimes correlate it with their political agenda openly. Could there be a “good” balance between the two, has there ever been? I doubt it.
Religion in its sole entity has a bigger impact on people than politics if believed in, due to it being viewed as the utmost truth. Thus the question of which one that has the most impact is an easily answered one, but I think the original idea with religion was to use it for political agenda, thus the correlation of the two is more dynamic for affecting people in their lives than one of them alone.
In the question of balance and harmony I believe that there can and is a balance between religion and politics in the sense that they correlate for their purpose well. But I do not believe that there can be a good and peaceful balance for the people living under an establishment with religious political views, at least not all of its citizens.