Saturday, November 28, 2015

Religious Nationalists, East and West, are Spoiling for a Fight

Nationalism is the modern version of tribalism.

Religion is our most powerful cultural tool to transcend tribalism.

But tribalism is powerful, and crafty.  It finds ways to co-opt every form of religion and cosmopolitan sentiment.

Thus, religious nationalism uses the terms and forms of universal religions to, ironically, support tribal conflicts.

Religious nationalists are usually kept in check by two unlikely allies: secular realists who oppose the utopian and apocalyptic excesses of nationalist religion; and truly religious people who oppose the parochial and violent excesses of nationalist cooptations of universal faiths.

But there is a cycle to human affairs.  New nationalist generations arise who "knew not Joseph," who forget why the last great war was so terrible.

I believe we are entering such a phase now.  Muslim religious nationalists, on one side, and Christian and Jewish religious nationalists, on the other, are spoiling for a fight.


Barry said...

Does your analysis of this situation show that the two groups of secular realists and true religious are not now numerous enough or powerful enough to keep the other parties in check? Does this ominous outlook contradict your blog's overall view that the human condition is improving

Gruntled said...

I am torn. I think that the realists and the religious will be able to mitigate the nationalist jingos. But I fear we will not be able to stop them from starting a major war.