Archive (Page 2 of 6)

Religion and World Politics part 11
Urban Polities and Wide Open Spaces

When we look at con­tem­po­rary inter­na­tion­al pol­i­tics, we often look back to the sec­ond Gulf War, the war against Saddam Hussein and his much rumored, much vaunt­ed, but nonex­is­tent weapons of mass destruc­tion as the begin­ning of an adven­ture full of hubris and con­tain­ing a neme­sis that’s come back to haunt us.

Religion and World Politics part 10
The Liberation of Theology

From the 1960s onwards, there was a new phe­nom­e­non, or at least it was noticed as new at that point in time, which has been called lib­er­a­tion the­ol­o­gy.” It began in Latin America. It began with Catholic priests want­i­ng to take a stand against injus­tice and cor­rup­tion, and par­tic­u­lar­ly on behalf of the poor­est cit­i­zens in Latin American countries.

Religion and World Politics part 9
Ecumenicalism and Trauma

The famous Dutch the­olo­gian Hans Küng once con­vened a par­lia­ment of the world’s reli­gions to come up with a com­mon eth­ic, think­ing that a com­mon eth­ic was pos­si­ble amongst all of the dif­fer­ent con­fes­sion­al enti­ties of the world. And indeed they man­aged to achieve a com­mon eth­ic. But when it came to sign­ing off the doc­u­ment that they had labo­ri­ous­ly com­posed, there were all kinds of problems.

Religion and World Politics part 7
ISIS and the 4th Principle

In the hey­day of Islamic thought, of Islamic phi­los­o­phy, of dis­qui­si­tions about the mean­ing of Islam and its place in the world of knowl­edge, in the 13th cen­tu­ry, the thought of great Islamic thinkers also was that God and his text con­sti­tut­ed a first prin­ci­ple. All else was con­tin­gent upon this first prin­ci­ple. Second, third, prin­ci­ples, etc. were contingent.

Religion and World Politics part 8
The Spectacle of Christian Fundamentalism

One of the key dif­fer­ences between Islamic scrip­ture and Christian scrip­ture is that Islamic scrip­ture (the Koran) was meant to have been revealed to the prophet Muhammad dur­ing his adult life­time. It was not meant to have been revealed to a num­ber of peo­ple over many thou­sands of years.

Religion and World Politics part 6
The Advent of Al-Qaeda

Our tale begins in Afghanistan with the Soviet inva­sion in 1979. This came out of a blue sky, mil­i­tary speak for there were no clouds, there were no warn­ings. But sud­den­ly the Soviets invad­ed the coun­try in sup­port of a Soviet-inclined gov­ern­ment. But a gov­ern­ment which aroused huge resent­ments and resis­tance on the part of many many peo­ple in Afghanistan. 

Religion and World Politics part 5
The Siege of Mecca and Its Treacherous Consequences

If the 1979 Iranian rev­o­lu­tion was a turn­ing point in late 20th cen­tu­ry his­to­ry, what fol­lowed set the scene for a series of betray­als and revivals of the sort that the Western world could not have envisaged.

Religion and World Politics part 4
The Problems of Resacralization on the Path to a Post-Secular World

When you try to ana­lyze the resacral­iza­tion of the sec­u­lar state sys­tem, there are many mis­takes that schol­ars par­tic­u­lar­ly in the West make. They assume that resacral­iza­tion is sim­ply sec­u­lar­ism plus the sacred added on. As if the sys­tem was still con­ceived in the same way, even it wish­es to behave in a dif­fer­ent way. But what in fact is going on is frag­men­tary, a mixture.

Religion and World Politics part 3
The Problems of Desacralization on the Path to a Post-Secular World

To sec­u­lar­ize the state is not sim­ply a mag­i­cal oper­a­tion that hap­pens at the wave of a hand. You’ve got to desacral­ize the state.

Religion and World Politics part 2

When we look back at our his­to­ry here in Europe, we often cel­e­brate the roman­ti­cized ver­sion of that his­to­ry and for­get the import that that roman­ti­cism often cloaked. For instance when we have films, when we read the books of Alexandre Dumas, par­tic­u­lar­ly The Three Musketeers, all we see are three (plus one) swash­buck­ling, sword-bearing gen­tle­man usu­al­ly of an exquis­ite hand­some­ness. And there’s an evil car­di­nal, Cardinal Richelieu, lurk­ing in the back­ground. But the idea that France was just like this for no appar­ent rea­son is some­thing that we nev­er real­ly real­ly investigate.

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