Monthly Archives: February 2014

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: CONCLUSIONS

CONCLUSIONS

As mentioned earlier, religion has both substantial and functional descriptions in which the latter was the focus of this research. Religion is considered as a series of beliefs, and one of the social structures in society with many social functions. In this article, we have concentrated on a part of these functions under political functions of religion. Religion, relatively, has a dual function; positive and negative functions in politics (for example it has acted as a factor for both unification and division). And, historically it has fluctuated between these two roles. On one hand, it is possible that religion has a negative function in a society while it has positive functions in others simultaneously.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Segmentation

Another discussion of negative function is related to religion as a segmenting factor. Johnstone in respect to the impact of religion on social structure refers to segmentation as following: 1-segmentation related to doctrine; in this relation, religion has a possible segmenting or divisive influence in society. ‘Religion may aggressively compete with other social institutions for the allegiance of people and may seriously disrupt the society. ’ In This extreme form of divisiveness, religion attempts consciously and directly to counter and undermine existing social and governmental forms. 2-Segmentation reinforced by religion; that is, segmentation originates elsewhere but reinforced by religion. He refers to two examples in particular: (1) segmentation inherent in social-class divisions, but enhanced by religion, and (2) segmentation inherent in racial prejudice and discrimination but reinforced by religion (Johnstone, Op.cit: 151- 154).

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Barrier of Political Changes

Barrier of Political Changes

As Nottingham has mentioned, religion can be strong barrier to social changes. In politics, religion has potential to block changes when there is an alliance between an established religion and an established government in circumstances when both stand to gain by maintaining the status quo. It likely occurs in the case of autocratic government (Nottingham, Op.cit: 162 – 163). So, in such countries we see very little political change. This situation has been seen in Iran after revolution in 1979. In this situation, as the Marxists have mentioned, “religion is the opiate of the masses” (Holt et al, Op.cit: 225). This means the barrier to movement of mass, because they are taught by religion to be satisfied of status quo even in absolute poverty. Eventually, mass don’t think and don’t move against the dominant class, and we don’t see an important change in society.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Religion and War

Religion has not only been cause of religious wars, but also had an effect on political wars. Weber in this relation mentions two opposed viewpoints: ‘…the mercenary army might be regarded as a relatively ethical institution […] The employment of force by the state can have moral sanction only when the force is used for the control of sins, for the glory of God, and for combating religious injustice -in short, only for religious purposes’(Weber, Op.cit).

Regarding the relationship between war, religion and politics, there are some examples of political claims grounded upon religious faith. Traditional Muslims divided the world into Dar al-Islam, the abode of Islam, and Dar al-Harb the abode of war. The first was included the Islamic communities and those non-Islamic communities that had accepted Muslim rule. All other communities and territories were in second abode. This division was to remain valid until the definitive transformation of Dar al-Harb into Dar al-Islam by jihad.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Negative Aspects

Negative Aspects

According to Marx, religion has negative function, especially, in relation to the working class. We can say that Marx was familiar with both political function for social classes and religion, and their usage in politics. In this relation, he determined the relationship between these classes and religion, thus, he named it opiate of masses. In this regard, it is necessary to say that some researchers have argued that Marxism is against the functionalism, because most of the functionalist researchers have much attention to positive functions, and the Marxist researchers have regarded negative functions of religion. Thereby, they have attempted to separate Marxism from functionalism. But, indeed, both of them are functionalists, that one of them considers the negative and another looks at the positive function of religion.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Political Functions

Weber in division of ‘concept of God’ in ancient communities mentions political God that shows the background of political function of religion (Weber at: http://www.ne.jp). Apart from this ancient background, indeed, during history, governments generally favor those religious complexes which can be “used” for political purposes (Holt et al, Op.cit: 206). In relation to the government and politician’s use of religion, we can refer to what Bonapart and other politicians in his government did in France.

For them, ‘the Church is in the state’, whereas ‘the state is not in church’ (Bhargava, 2010: 102). It shows the importance of religion for state and indeed shows the truth in the beginning of secularism age. They didn’t say church is separate of state because they as politicians wanted to use religion. Until now this method has been continued. Although it is partially seen the separation of religion and state, but the separation of religion and politics is not seen even in secular countries.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Structural Functionalism

Structural Functionalism

In the structural-functional approach human societies are seen as self-contained systems that maintain themselves within a framework of necessity. Religion has been regarded as one such requirement (Nottingham, 1971: 57). When such assumptions and modes of analysis are applied to religion, two emphases predominate: ‘1-religion is part of the social structure, and as such can be expected to “fit” at least reasonably well with the other parts and elements of social, and 2 -religion by virtue of its presence in society performs certain functions for the society as a whole – that is, religion is beneficial in various ways to the society generally and to certain of its subparts in particular’ (Johnstone, Op.cit: 132).

In total, functional approach does not value-judge, and on the contrary, focuses on the objective role of religion. In Merton’s view, religion, like a part of society, can have positive or negative functions, and latent or manifest functions. In this text, as it will be explained, we regard to dysfunction (negative function) in respect to the religion in the politics and political science. But before that, here, with regard to what was said above, we review religion and its function in society and politics in total.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

The prior researches show that secularism or modernity has not marginalized religion in the modern world, it means that it has had the relationship and effect on politics. As we know, In the Soviet Union after long time fighting against religion, in the period of Mikhail Gorbachev the relationship between religion and politics began to transform. In the Middle East, politics and religion have always had long established and intimate relationship together. Indeed, for Islam, there is ideally no sphere of religion separable from the political one. As Qarzawi, one of the famous clergies, in his book ‘political Jurisprudence’ has mentioned, Islam without politics is not Islam. In this regard, Iran, as a theocratic state, has been the focus of such extremist ideas. In India, although there is officially a secular state, but secularization has not led to the marginalization of religion in the country’s political life. In Southern Africa, there is also an arena in which religion and politics have entered into relatively close relationships.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Religion

There are many definitions for religion. All definitions emphasize certain aspects of religion and exclude others. Here, we mention to Smith’s definition that is supposed to be approximately comprehensive. In his words, ‘Religion is a series of spiritual beliefs that unites its believers as a single community’. Thus, religion is one of the structures in the social system. In addition to the moral aspects, it can be discussed as a materialistic existence in religion foundations (like institutional form such as ‘church’ in Christianity and Mosque in Islam and temple in the Eastern religions), religious groups and religious movements (Hamilton, 2001). Hence, according to Malcolm Hamilton (2001), religion has both substantial and functional descriptions that explain religion that in this article the functional definition is regarded. The intent here is to expose religion’s function and role in politics. So, in this relation, we should also mention the definition of Function.

ECONOMICS OF PROSTITUTION IN THE WORLD AND ITS IMPLICATIONS: RESEARCH FINDINGS

RESEARCH FINDINGS

The research results indicate that Egypt like other world countries is not isolated from the increased phenomenon of human trafficking (tourist marriage of women, prostitution and sex exploitation). The research indicates the following results:

• The lack of economic and social strategy capable of solving the women dilemma in Egypt.
• Absence of adequate protection of escaping from the human smuggling networks for the purpose of prostitution.
• Lack of effective and decisive legal system facing the human trafficking and prostitution.
• The tourist marriage in Egypt is based on a one of the compulsion forms that resulted from different factors including poverty of families, fathers’ power and dominance over their daughters, feeling of deprivation in line of the aspects of richness and money temptation, delinquency culture on that type of marriage.

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