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RELIGION AS A POLITICAL FACTOR AND IDEOLOGY

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Series: Religion and politics. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Missionary politics in contemporary Europe. Syracuse, N. Religion has proven to be a more vital and multifarious phenomenon than it was viewed by the Enlightenment, positivism or Marxism. In fact, the theory of secularisation had itself become a kind of ersatz religious conviction for certain social groups and political orientations; it no longer functioned as a scientific hypothesis, but instead as a ideology in the service of power politics: in its "soft" version in certain Western countries, or Nehru's India, post-war Japan, or Egypt; and in a very "hard" version in the former Soviet empire or Communist China.

Even after the fall of Communism and in the face of the current revival of religion in many parts of the world, many stereotypical views of religion dating back to the period before the present changes are proving hard to overcome. In the media, in the heads of many politicians and within broad sections of public opinion, the prevailing view of the role and future of religion still derives from the ideology of the anti-clerical movements from the eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.

Paradoxically, this view of religion adopted precisely the clerical view of religion - in other words, restricting it solely to phenomena confined to ecclesiastical institutions and doctrinal systems and raising its hands in horror at all "religious innovations. Ever since the Enlightenment, we in the West have been accustomed to regard separation of Church and State as the ideal model for the relation between religion and politics. This model was the outcome of a historical drama in many acts, one element of which was the critical attitude to power adopted by many Jewish prophets and Christian martyrs: the "papal revolution" against the emperor's monopoly of power in the struggle over the investiture; Enlightenment endeavours to protect the freedom of civil society from church interference; and the efforts of Christians to defend religious freedom in the face of totalitarian tendencies on the part of the State.


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There are many arguments in favour of retaining this mutually beneficial model in practical terms. However, if today we are seeking to understand the relationship between religion and politics, we cannot view it exclusively from the point of view of the relationship between Church and State. The State no longer has a monopoly of political life and the Church has lost its monopoly of religion.

On the threshold of the modern age, the corpus christianorum disintegrated, ushering in the epoch of nation states and separate Christian denominations. These were to play a crucial role through modern times in Europe. For most Europeans, belonging to a nation and a religious denomination were the main pillars of their identity and, not infrequently, fanatical attachment to a particular denomination or nation combined with demonisation of others resulted in ruinous wars. We still have nation states and individual churches, but their influence is considerably reduced.

The dynamic of political life is increasingly provided by various new social movements and citizens' campaigns, often operating internationally while the dynamic of religious life is more supplied by various religious movements, operating across the boundaries of the different denominations. All human activity, including political and religious life, takes place within a new context, as part of the global information market created by the electronic media.

Moreover, politics is increasingly in the thrall of economics, which is increasingly globalised. The most important economic decisions - and therefore political decisions - are taken at international level, in bodies that are subject minimally to the influence of democratic mechanisms operating within the framework of the national state. The tested mechanisms of political and religious that applied hitherto have to a marked extent been tied to the narrower framework of the nation state and church institutions and are hard to transfer into a wider context.

Just as the classical model of democracy is hard to apply in broader contexts than the nation state, so also the classical form of pastoral work is hard to operate outside traditional church structures. Every change in civilisation's paradigm requires recontextualisation , whether in religion or in politics, and this is generally a lengthy and dramatic process of seeking new forms and a new style.

If one examines the transformations undergone by European Christianity, for instance, one can see how well the Church stood the test after the fall of Rome and during the great waves of migration in the fifth and sixth centuries, and how it did less well on the threshold of the modern era. Europe is the scene of wide-ranging changes. The pace of political, economic, legal and administrative integration of the member and candidate countries of the European Union has become more intense. As the birth-rate falls in many European countries, the number of immigrants from other continents is rising, changing the ethnic and religious structure of Europe's population, most strikingly in the capitals of the Western world.

The demand is often heard from Christians, "Give Europe back its soul. Is Europe really soulless? And even if it were, are any people capable of endowing Europe with a soul? Aren't those who are promising to give Europe "a soul" actually offering it mere ideology? Of course, in the present phase of European integration the focus is on the "body of Europe" and the issue of Europe's spiritual identity seems secondary.

However, is not the very courage to carry out this bold operation on the body of Europe - that consists in widening and enhancing the European Union - derived from the assumption that there is something that lends Europe meaning; that there exists and operates here some deep-seated unifying principle, the quiet intrinsic force of attraction holding Europe together in spite of all the changes; that there is something here that is hard to grasp, but which forms the basis of a European identity? The very political will to achieve European integration, however superficial its immediate motives might be, implies a belief in a "European soul.

Rubin Zemon Prof. Donatella Biagi Maino Prof. Jane Kodjabasija Dr. Vangel Nonevski M. Igor Panev M.

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Missionary Politics – A Contribution to the Study of Populism

Dragana Broz. Florin Curta University of Florida Prof. Giuseppe Maino University of Bologna Prof. Carolyn S. Snively Gettysburg College Prof. Elizabeta Dimitrova University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje Dr.