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.

There are relationship between Latin Christianity and liberal democracy in Western Europe, and between liberalism and Protestants in northern America. In Latin America, conflicting pressures between political stability and social justice, and the Churches being divided within and among themselves, are a hallmark of the contemporary relationship between religion and politics (Moyser, 1991: 18-19).

Apart from the conducted surveys and investigations, the world’s events during last years in some countries like Egypt, Cyprus, Syria and so on, show that religion is, and will continue to be, a major player in politics. So, religion is a consistent element in human society, that it can be considered like a part of society as a whole with some functions. And, as the historical investigations show, the politics and religion have been in interaction up to now. Indeed the most important effect of the social power of religion is that it emerges in the form of its political capabilities (Mofidi, 2005). However, after separation of various disciplines in social sciences religion and its social functions have already been investigated by some sociologists, especially the functionalists from the point of view of structural functionalism, while the attempts in political science were insignificant and most of studies, have been limited to political religion and fundamentalism. In this regard, and in the continuation of previous writings on religion in politics, this article considers the negative aspects of political functions of religion from the viewpoint of political science.1 For this purpose, first of all, we should mention to definition of religion and separate the substantive and functional definitions.