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Religions as a Social Force

Sola Fide (only through faith) - Martin Luther

1) Religion is used to accomplish political ends, as when a landowner meets his tenant farmers at church or a general attends the funeral of one of his soldiers. If you cannot use religion to control people, what is its use? ...Hence rulers and nations have wanted to have their own religion: Lutheranism in Germany, the Church of England, Chinese Catholicism in China disaffiliated from Rome, etc. These are expressions of the same needs.

2) The Holy Roman Catholic Church is just another business in which to find employment and make a career. It demands the same return and invests in the same stocks as any other business. Its staff is in the metaphysical business, an industry with its own special features.

3) The demystification of the world has made us lose our vision for the world. We are in search of a new vision; let us hope that it will be a return to humility. These are periods of real discoveries.

4) The Catholic areas of Europe are better at resisting the general moral decay affecting our continent - better than Lutheran or secular societies.

5) Opus Dei has been established to defend Catholic culture internationally. It has considerable influence at Harvard, at Oxford, at the IESE Business School (which they run jointly with about twenty other universities from around the world), and among technical elites.

6) The Jesuits have been educating intellectual elites for centuries all over the Western world. They are not interested in you if you don't have strong potential.

7) The next Pope may be Asian. It is the country with the most new Christians which will decide who shall be the next Pope.

8) The aggressive religions of the world spring from the nomadic societies of the Middle East: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They all spread messages of intolerance, ideas about a reward after death and a special and exclusive contract between them and God.

9) China has all the religions it needs. If you are reasonable there is Confucianism, if you are very religious there is Buddhism, and if you are a little bit religious there is Taoism. Or, you can choose all, or a bit from all. The Chinese believe in several gods: "believing in several gods probably gives you a better chance", they say.

10) In China only the emperor could talk to Heaven. There is a square in Peking where he went to do that once a year.

11) These are the religious enclaves in the world:

a) In South America: the only non-Catholic countries in South America are the former colonies of British and Dutch Guyana.

b) In Africa: a considerable Protestant enclave is found in South Africa, and then there is a Christian Orthodox enclave in Ethiopia.

c) In Europe: the Islamic (Sunni) enclave of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

d) In Asia. India has the third largest Muslim population in the world, mainly located in Uttar Pradesh (30,7 million), West Bengal (20,2 million and Bihar (13,7 million). The Philippines is the only Catholic country in this part of the world, a once beautiful and resourceful country turned by US exploitation into landfill.

e) The Middle East: Iran being Indo-European and Zoroastrian would not allow itself to adhere to the same religion as neighboring Arab States. The Iranian compromise was to create its own reform movement, Shiite Islam,143 a faith shared by no other country. All great nation states seek their own religion.

12) In twenty-five years' time Islam will have two billion followers. It is the fastest growing religion in the world. It is much more popular than the Christian church. You cannot wish them away. The only way to deal with Islam is co-existence. Otherwise Islam risks becoming the faith of the weak and poor, replacing Communism.

13) There are 56 Islamic states. In addition there are about 160 million Muslims living in India. For them the Arab/non-Arab divide is more important than the Shia-Sunni divide. Of a total of 1,62 billion Muslims less than 20% are Arabs.

14) We can illustrate the religious diversity of Europe by drawing two lines and a circle.

Figure 11: European religious diversity

European religious diversity

15) The policy of a secular France is to secularize Islam. It is difficult to integrate Islamic fundamentalism into a modern European culture. It is a religion that excludes independent judgments, where adherence is irreversible, where the response to unbelief is death. It is a religion for the desert, for a society of the status quo, not suited to social groups in transition. Islamic fundamentalists are trying to move backwards, secular society forwards. How could you hope to integrate the two? Our only hope is to secularize Islam in Europe.

16) Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is an ideology of attack, of aggression. The Sunnis are not the worst problem. The Shiites consist of 140 million warriors. Compare these to the more peaceful religions in the East

17) The caste system in India is not much better than apartheid. It is slavery institutionalized. It functions to induce the conquered people, the slaves, to accept their fate. Hinduism was developed when Indo-Europeans came to India in about 1500 BC and mingled their beliefs with those of the Indus valley natives. The Indo-Europeans formed the three upper castes, the original inhabitants the fourth and fifth castes. Only between 25 and 38 per cent of the population today belong to the privileged castes.

18) Sikhism, with its home in the Punjab area, is a faith sharing elements of both Islam and Hinduism. Known for their moral integrity, this group has been used as elites throughout Indian history, including by the British.

Colonialism

1) Almost all former European colonies were in Africa and South Asia. Africans today blame their slow development on colonialism. If that is the main reason, then why is South Asia one of the regions with the fastest growing economies anywhere? Their starting point was not much more favorable than that of, e.g.,

2) Almost all colonies belonging to the Western world were given up in the decades after 1945. Almost all those in Asia were given up before 1950, and most African colonies were given independence in the 1960s. The last colonies to become independent were Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, and Mozambique in the 1970s. Today there remains 16 places, almost all of which are islands, with about 1,2 million inhabitants. French Guyana belonging to France, as a département d'outre-mer (DOM). Namibia became independent of South Africa in 1990.

3) Western countries have supported most of the dictators in Africa since the end of colonialism, but the Africans have created just as many new ones for themselves. "Recolonization" is not an alternative, so we have to show patience even though things may move backwards, as in South Africa today.

Language and linguistic enclaves

1) These are the linguistic enclaves:

a) In South and Central America: English is the first language only in Guyana and Belize.

b) In all of the Americas French is only spoken in French Guiana, Haiti, some islands, and Quebec.

c) The rest of South and Central America speak Spanish, except for Brazil which speaks Portuguese.

d) Africa: sub-Saharan Africa is still the scene of competition between French and English interests. The French have just lost the Congo, and have been on the retreat in Africa since the Second World War. The English enclaves in French-speaking Africa are Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

 
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