12. Religion in the Contemporary World
Keywords: politics, economics, monopoly, science, complementarity
12.1 Religion and Politics
Over the past two decades, religionists have once again reviewed the relation of religion and politics. After a period when they stated or predicted the retreat of religion from public life and policy, scholars have recognised that religion is not disappearing, but in a variety of ways it influences the management of social life at all levels.
When we look to history, we notice that religion and politics are mutually intertwined and have created various compositions. Ever since the dawn of culture, people have tried to explain the world and cosmology through religion and the sacred, but also political issues dealing with the management of power. Some of the earliest civilisations joined these elements together in ← 101 | 102 → a unity, as it was, for example, in ancient Egypt, where pharaohs represented the greatest political power of the realm of the sacred. Similar types of connections can be found throughout history up to recent or current social systems, in particular totalitarian states. Several Islamic countries presently impose the Islamic law of Sharia onto their citizens (even non-Muslims). Other countries, such as North Korea, explicitly distance themselves from religion, but the cult of the leader and the glorification of theory and structures act as an implicit religion.
On the opposite pole on the imaginary scale of possible systems of politics and religion is cosmological dualism, in which religion and politics form distinct spheres that...
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