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.

Regarding the political development, religion, basically, is a totalitarian institution, and acts as a barrier against pluralism. In religious societies, especially when religion gets the power, achieving democracy and political development becomes much difficult. The Muslim rulers of the modern world’s Islamic countries have been able to control change and, partly to bolster their own authority by appeals to religious symbols for long time (Ibid: 165). In Iran, for example, the religious leaders believe that ‘party is just Hezbollah (Allah party)’ and, they emphasis on the only Islamic parties, and rejecting other parties. After the stability of government, and the thermidor of revolution in 1979, we can see just the Islamic parties. The totalitarian Islamic nature of the government in the country does not accept any opposition voice, even it is of an Islamic sort, as we can see that they suppressed the protesters after presidential election in 2009.