The leadership and moral guidance across the world have been influenced by both politics and religion. While the close interaction between the two has yielded positive results in some countries, there are significant setbacks that have been experienced as well. This essay offers a literature review on religion and politics by accentuating the interdependence of the notions and the effects of religion on politics.
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It has been quite challenging for religion to operate harmoniously with politics. However, Aronoff (42) is quite categorical that many political structures and notions are based on religious ideals. As a matter of fact, there seem to be closer ties between the roles played by both religion and politics especially in most western states. It has also been a common practice among individual politicians who seek support from various religious affiliations. Nonetheless, some of these politicians are known to use these religious blocs as their major means of ascending to power (Bernardin et al 36)
At some point, it may be cumbersome to separate these two institutions especially on the basis of their practices. For instance, it is worth to mention that political integrity is a requirement for those vying for political offices, especially in most developed countries. On the same note, religion demands integrity on all forms of engagement (Hoelzl and Ward 74)
The main demerit of religious engagements with politics is that religious principles are meant to be fixed and cannot be compromised at all. Nonetheless, political affiliations and principles are usually flexible. This stark contrast explains why religious differences between Islam and Christianity have been in place since time immemorial (Kelly and Messina 19).
In any case, the tension that exists between Islam and Christianity in some countries has largely been worsened by political intrigues and sentiments when religious leaders politicize the fundamental beliefs of their religions. This scenario explains why the interaction between religion and politics is complicated (Mews 27).
According to Norris and Inglehart (88), religious beliefs and traditions are significant components that tend to significantly influence people’s identity. On the same note, political affiliations and fanaticism are also built on these frameworks. Moreover, the concept of the secularization of religion is indeed real bearing in mind that most religious platforms cannot do well in world politics is such religions are not secularized.
In such a case, it implies that contemporary politics have remarkably secularized religion to an extent that the latter is gradually losing its focus (Wald and Calhoun-Brown 51). Moreover, present-day social development has also been shortchanged because most aspects of religion are no longer being pursued. The American society provides a typical example of a devastating religious footing since it is pluralistic in relation to religion and it is also the ground for using different religious visions in the political struggle (Perry 60).
Besides, the problems associated with the management of theocratic states are attributed to the existence of a thin line between religion and politics. Such states have already lost their political powers and as such, they are being run by religious authorities (Ponsonby 74). There are some theocratic states such as Israel that significantly rely on religious laws and principles to run their governments. In such cases, both religion and politics have been completely harmonized and therefore, limited political upheavals and discontent are experienced (Sharkansky 44).
In conclusion, it is evident that religion and politics are two important social institutions that cannot be ignored in the contemporary world. In addition, the positive and negative effects of the close interaction between these two entities largely depend on how they are socially established in a state.
Aronoff, Myron J. Religion and Politics. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1984. Print.
Bernardin, Joseph et al. Religion in Politics. USA: Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1987. Sound Recording.
Hoelzl, Michael, and Graham Ward. Religion and Political Thought. London: Continuum, 2006. Print.
Kelly, Michael, and Lynn Messina. Religion in Politics and Society. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 2002. Print.
Mews, Stuart. Religion in Politics: A World Guide. Harlow: Longman, 1989. Print.
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Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart. Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.
Perry, Michael J. Religion in Politics: Constitutional and Moral Perspectives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999. Print.
Ponsonby, Arthur. Religion in Politics. USA: L. Parsons, 1921. Print.
Sharkansky, Ira. The Politics of Religion and the Religion of Politics: Looking at Israel. USA: Lexington Books, 2000. Print.
Wald, Kenneth D., and Allison Calhoun-Brown. Religion and Politics in the United States. USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011. Print.